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presented to 

Xibrarp 

of tbe 

\Hniver0its of Toronto 



Bertram 1ft. Bavta 

from tbe boofes of 

tbe late Xionel E)at>f0, 



THE WORKS OF 
HENRIK IBSEN 



THE VIKING EDITION 

VOLUME 

VII 






HENRIK IBSEN 




WITH INTRODUCTIONS BY 

WILLIAM ARCHER 





NEW YORK 
CHARLES SCRIBBLER'S SONS 

1917 



Copyright, 1911, by Charles Scribner's Sons 




CONTENTS 



INTRODUCTION TO A DOLLS HOUSE 



A DOLL S HOUSE 23 

Translated by WILLIAM ARCHER 

INTRODUCTION TO " GHOSTS " 195 

"GHOSTS" 207 

Translated by WILLIAM ARCHEB 






ILLUSTRATIONS 



HENRIK IBSEN ABOUT 1879 Frontispiece 

FACING PAGK 

FRU HENNINGS AS NORA IN "A DOLI/S HOUSE " . 92 



HERR JERNDORFF AS DR. RANK IN A DOLLS 
HOUSE" . 184 



M. ORLENEFF AS OSWALD ALVING AND MME. NAZI- 
MO VA AS REGINA ENGSTRAND IN " GHOSTS " 



A DOLL'S HOUSE 



A DOLL'S HOUSE 

INTRODUCTION * 

ON June 27, 1879, Ibsen wrote from Rome to Marcus 
Gronvold: "It is now rather hot in Rome, so in about a 
week we are going to Amalfi, which, being close to the 
sea, is cooler, and offers opportunity for bathing. I in- 
tend to complete there a new dramatic work on which I 
am now engaged." From Amalfi, on September 20, he 
wrote to John Paulsen: "A new dramatic work, which I 
have just completed, has occupied so much of my time 
during these last months that I have had absolutely none 
to spare for answering letters." This "new dramatic 
work" was Et Dukkehjem, which was published in Co- 
penhagen, December 4, 1879. Dr. George Brandes has 
given some account of the episode in real life which sug- 
gested to Ibsen the plot of this play; but the real Nora, 
it appears, committed forgery, not to save her husband's 
life, but to redecorate her house. The impulse received 
from this incident must have been trifling. It is much 
more to the purpose to remember that the character and 
situation of Nora had been clearly foreshadowed, ten 
years earlier, in the figure of Selma in The League of 
Youth. 

Of A Doll's House we find in the Literary Remains a 
first brief memorandum, a fairly detailed scenario, a com- 

* Copyright, 1906, by Charles Scribner's Sona 
3 



4 A DOLL'S HOUSE 

plete draft, in quite actable form, and a few detached frag- 
ments of dialogue. These documents put out of court 
a theory of my own 1 that Ibsen originally intended to 
give the play a "happy ending," and that the relation 
between Krogstad and Mrs. Linden was devised for that 
purpose. 

Here is the first memorandum: 

NOTES FOR THE 3 TRAGEDY OF TO-DAY 

ROME, 19/10/78. 

There are two kinds of spiritual laws, two kinds of 
conscience, one in men and a quite different one in women. 
They do not understand each other; but the woman is 
judged in practical life according to the man's law, as if 
she were not a woman but a man. 

The wife in the play finds herself at last entirely at sea 
as to what is right and what wrong; natural feeling on 
the one side, and belief in authority on the other, leave her 
in utter bewilderment. 

A woman cannot be herself in the society of to-day, 
which is exclusively a masculine society, with laws writ- 
ten by men, and with accusers and judges who judge 
feminine conduct from the masculine standpoint. 

She has committed forgery, and it is her pride; for she 
did it for love of her husband, and to save his life. But 
this husband, full of everyday rectitude, stands on the basis 
of the law and regards the matter with a masculine eye. 

1 Stated in the Fortnightly Review, July 1906, and repeated in the 
first edition of this Introduction. 

2 The definite article does not, I think, imply that Ibsen ever in- 
tended this to be the title of the play, but merely that the notes 
refer to "the" tragedy of contemporary life which he has had for 
some time in his mind. 



INTRODUCTION 5 

Soul-struggles. Oppressed and bewildered by belief in 
authority, she loses her faith in her own moral right and 
ability to bring up her children. Bitterness. A mother 
in the society of to-day, like certain insects, (ought to) go 
away and die when she has done her duty towards the 
continuance of the species. Love of life, of home, of 
husband and children and kin. Now and then a woman- 
like shaking off of cares. Then a sudden return of ap- 
prehension and dread. She must bear it all alone. The 
catastrophe approaches, inexorably, inevitably. Despair, 
struggle, and disaster. 

In reading Ibsen's statement of the conflict he meant 
to portray between the male and female conscience, one 
cannot but feel that he somewhat shirked the issue in 
making Nora's crime a formal rather than a real one. 
She had no intention of defrauding Krogstad ; and though 
it is an interesting point of casuistry to determine whether, 
under the stated circumstances, she had a moral right to 
sign her father's name, opinion on the point would 
scarcely be divided along the line of sex. One feels that, 
in order to illustrate the "two kinds of conscience," Ib- 
sen ought to have made his play turn upon some point of 
conduct (if such there be) which would sharply divide 
masculine from feminine sympathies. The fact that 
such a point would be extremely hard to find seems to 
cast doubt on the ultimate validity of the thesis. If, for 
instance, Nora had deliberately stolen the money from 
Krogstad, with no intention of repaying it, that would 
certainly have revealed a great gulf between her morality 
and Helmer's; but would any considerable number of 
her sex have sympathised with her? I am not denying 



6 A DOLL'S HOUSE 

a marked difference between the average man and the 
average woman in the development of such character- 
istics as the sense of justice; but I doubt whether, when 
women have their full share in legislation, the laws re- 
lating to forgery will be seriously altered. 

A parallel-text edition of the provisional and the final 
forms of A Doll's House would be intensely interesting. 
For the present, I can note only a few of the most salient 
differences between the two versions. 

Helmer is at first called "Stenborg"; 1 it is not till the 
scene with Krogstad in the second act that the name Hel- 
mer makes its first appearance. Ibsen was constantly 
changing his characters' names in the course of composi- 
tion trying them on, as it were, until he found one that 
was a perfect fit. 

The first scene, down to the entrance of Mrs. Linden, 
though it contains all that is necessary for the mere de- 
velopment of the plot, runs to only twenty-three speeches, 
as compared with eighty-one in the completed text. The 
business of the macaroons is not even indicated; there 
is none of the charming talk about the Christmas-tree 
and the children's presents; no request on Nora's part 
that her present may take the form of money, no indica- 
tion on Helmer's part that he regards her supposed ex- 
travagance as an inheritance from her father. Helmer 
knows that she toils at copying far into the night in order 
to earn a few crowns, though of course he has no suspicion 
as to how she employs the money. Ibsen evidently felt 
it inconsistent with his character that he should permit 

1 This name seems to have haunted Ibsen. It was also the origi- 
nal name of Stensgard in The League of Youth. 



INTRODUCTION 7 

this, so in the completed version we learn that Nora, in 
order to do her copying, locked herself in under the pre- 
text of making decorations for the Christmas-tree, and, 
when no result appeared, declared that the cat had de- 
stroyed her handiwork. The first version, in short, is 
like a stained glass window seen from without, the sec- 
ond like the same window seen from within. 

The long scene between Nora and Mrs. Linden is more 
fully worked out, though many small touches of character 
are lacking, such as Nora's remark that some day "when 
Torvald is not so much in love with me as he is now," 
she may tell him the great secret of how she saved his life. 
It is notable throughout that neither Helmer's sestheticism 
nor the sensual element in his relation to Nora is nearly so 
much emphasised as in the completed play; while Nora's 
tendency to small fibbing that vice of the unfree is al- 
most an afterthought. In the first appearance of Krog- 
stad, and the indication of his old acquaintance with Mrs. 
Linden, many small adjustments have been made, all 
strikingly for the better. The first scene with Dr. Rank, 
originally called Dr. Hank has been almost entirely re- 
written. There is in the draft no indication of the doc- 
tor's ill-health or of his pessimism; it seems as though 
he ,had at first been designed as a mere confidant or rai- 
sonneur. This is how he talks: 

HANK. Hallo ! what's this ? A new carpet ? I con- 
gratulate you ! Now take, for example, a handsome car- 
pet like this; is it a luxury ? I say it isn't. Such a car- 
pet is a paying investment; with it underfoot, one has 
higher, subtler thoughts, and finer feelings, than when one 
moves over cold, creaking planks in a comfortless room. 



8 A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Especially where there are children in the house. The 
race ennobles itself in a beautiful environment. 

NORA. Oh, how often I have felt the same, but could 
never express it. 

HANK. No, I dare say not. It is an observation in 
spiritual statistics a science as yet very little cultivated. 

As to Krogstad, the doctor remarks: 

If Krogstad's home had been, so to speak, on the sunny 
side of life, with all the spiritual windows opening towards 
the light, ... I dare say he might have been a decent 
enough fellow, like the rest of us. 

MRS. LINDEN. You mean that he is not. . . . ? 

HANK. He cannot be. His marriage was not of the 
kind to make it possible. An unhappy marriage, Mrs. 
Linden, is like small-pox: it scars the soul. 

NORA. And what does a happy marriage do ? 

HANK. It is like a "cure" at the baths; it expels all 
peccant humours, and makes all that is good and fine in 
a man grow and flourish. 

It is notable that we find in this scene nothing of Nora's 
glee on learning that Krogstad is now dependent on her 
husband ; that fine touch of dramatic irony was an after- 
thought. After Helmer's entrance, the talk is very differ- 
ent in the original version. He remarks upon the painful 
interview he has just had with Krogstad, whom he is 
forced to dismiss from the bank; Nora, in a mild way, 
pleads for him; and the doctor, in the name of the sur- 
vival of the fittest, 1 denounces humanitarian sentimen- 

1 It is noteworthy that Darwin's two great books were translated 
into Danish very shortly before Ibsen began to work at A Doll's 
House. 



INTRODUCTION 9 

tality, and then goes off to do his best to save a patient 
who, he confesses, would be much better dead. This 
discussion of the Krogstad question before Nora has 
learnt how vital it is to her, manifestly discounts the ef- 
fect of the scenes which are to follow: and Ibsen, on re- 
vision, did away with it entirely. 

Nora's romp with the children, interrupted by the en- 
trance of Krogstad, stands very much as in the final ver- 
sion; and in the scene with Krogstad there is no essen- 
tial change. One detail is worth noting, as an instance 
of the art of working up an effect. In the first version, 
when Krogstad says, "Mrs. Stenborg, you must see to it 
that I keep my place in the bank," Nora replies: "I? 
How can you think that I have any such influence with 
my husband ? " a natural but not specially effective re- 
mark. But in the final version she has begun the scene 
by boasting to Krogstad of her influence, and telling him 
that people in a subordinate position ought to be careful 
how they offend such influential persons as herself; so 
that her subsequent denial that he has any influence be- 
comes a notable dramatic effect. 

. The final scene of the act, between Nora and Helmer, 
is not materially altered in the final version; but the first 
version contains no hint of the business of decorating the 
Christmas-tree or of Nora's wheedling Helmer by pre- 
tending to need his aid in devising her costume for the 
fancy dress ball. Indeed, this ball has not yet entered 
Ibsen's mind. He thinks of it first as a children's party in 
the flat overhead, to which Helmer's family are invited. 

In the opening scene of the second act there are one or 
two traits that might perhaps have been preserved, such 



10 A DOLL'S HOUSE 

as Nora's prayer: "Oh, God! Oh, God! do something 
to Torvald's mind to prevent him from enraging that 
terrible man! Oh, God! Oh, God! I have three lit- 
tle children! Do it for my children's sake." Very nat- 
ural and touching, too, is her exclamation, "Oh, how 
glorious it would be if I could only wake up, and come to 
my senses, and cry, ' It was a dream ! It was a dream ! ' ' 
A week, by the way, has passed, instead of a single night, 
as in the finished play; and Nora has been wearing her- 
self out by going to parties every evening. Helmer enters 
immediately on the nurse's exit; there is no scene with 
Mrs. Linden in which she remonstrates with Nora for 
having (as she thinks) borrowed money from Dr. Rank, 
and so suggests to her the idea of applying to him for aid. 
In the scene with Helmer, we miss, among many other 
characteristic traits, his confession that the ultimate 
reason why he cannot keep Krogstad in the bank is that 
Krogstad, an old schoolfellow, is so tactless as to tutoyer 
him. There is a curious little touch in the passage where 
Helmer draws a contrast between his own strict rectitude 
and the doubtful character of Nora's father. "I can 
give you proof of it," he says. " I never cared to mention 
it before but the twelve hundred dollars he gave you 
when you were set on going to Italy he never entered in 
his books: we have been quite unable to discover where 
he got them from." When Dr. Rank enters, he speaks 
to Helmer and Nora together of his failing health; it is 
an enormous improvement which transfers this passage, 
in a carefully polished form, to his scene with Nora alone. 
That scene, in the draft, is almost insignificant. It con- 
sists mainly of somewhat melodramatic forecasts of dis- 



11 

aster on Nora's part, and the doctor's alarm as to her 
health. Of the famous silk-stocking scene that invalu- 
able sidelight on Nora's relation with Helmer there is not 
a trace. There is no hint of Nora's appeal to Rank for 
help, nipped in the bud by his declaration of love for her. 
All these elements we find in a second draft of the scene 
which has been preserved. In this second draft, Rank 
says, "Helmer himself might quite well know every 
thought I have ever had of you; he shall know when I 
am gone." It might have been better, so far as England 
is concerned, if Ibsen had retained this speech; it might 
have prevented much critical misunderstanding of a per- 
fectly harmless and really beautiful episode. 

Between the scene with Rank and the scene with Krog- 
stad there intervenes, in the draft, a discussion between 
Nora and Mrs. Linden, containing this curious passage : 

NORA. When an unhappy wife is separated from her 
husband she is not allowed to keep her children ? Is that 
really so ? 

MRS. LINDEN. Yes, I think so. That's to say, if she 
v is guilty. 

NORA. Oh, guilty, guilty; what does it mean to be 
guilty ? Has a wife no right to love her husband ? 

MRS. LINDEN. Yes, precisely, her husband and him 
only. 

NORA. Why, of course; who was thinking of any- 
thing else ? But that law is unjust, Kristina. You can 
see clearly that it is the men that have made it. 

MRS. LINDEN. Aha so you have begun to take up 
the woman question ? 

NORA. No, I don't care a bit about it. 



12 A DOLL'S HOUSE 

The scene with Krogstad is essentially the same as in 
the final form, though sharpened, so to speak, at many 
points. The question of suicide was originally discussed 
in a somewhat melodramatic tone: 

NORA. I have been thinking of nothing else all these 
days. 

KROGSTAD. Perhaps. But how to do it? Poison? 
Not so easy to get hold of. Shooting? It needs some 
skill, Mrs. Helmer. Hanging ? Bah there's something 
ugly in that. . . . 

NORA. Do you hear that rushing sound ? 

KROGSTAD. The river? Yes, of course you have 
thought of that. But you haven't pictured the thing to 
yourself. 

And he proceeds to do so for her. After he has gone, 
leaving the letter in the box, Helmer and Rank enter, and 
Nora implores Helmer to do no work till New Year's 
Day (the next day) is over. He agrees, but says, " I will 
just see if any letters have come"; whereupon she rushes 
to the piano and strikes a few chords. He stops to lis- 
ten, and she sits down and plays and sings Anitra's song 
from Peer Gynt. When Mrs. Linden presently enters, 
Nora makes her take her place at the piano, drapes a 
shawl around her, and dances Anitra's dance. It must 
be owned that Ibsen has immensely improved this very 
strained and arbitrary incident by devising the fancy 
dress ball and the necessity of rehearsing the tarantella 
for it; but at the best it remains a piece of theatricalism. 
As a study in technique, the re-handling of the last act 
is immensely interesting. At the beginning, in the earlier 



INTRODUCTION 13 

form, Nora rushes down from the children's party over- 
head, and takes a significant farewell of Mrs. Linden, 
whom she finds awaiting her. Helmer almost forces her 
to return to the party; and thus the stage is cleared for 
the scene between Mrs. Linden and Krogstad, which, in 
the final version, opens the act. Then Nora enters with 
the two elder children, whom she sends to bed. Helmer 
immediately follows, and on his heels Dr. Rank, who an- 
nounces in plain terms that his disease has entered on its 
last stage, that he is going home to die, and that he will not 
have Helmer or any one else hanging around his sick- 
room. In the final version, he says all this to Nora alone 
in the second act; while in the last act, coming in upon 
Helmer flushed with wine, and Nora pale and trembling 
in her masquerade dress, he has a parting scene with them, 
the significance of which she alone understands. In the 
earlier version, Rank has several long and heavy speeches 
in place of the light, swift dialogue of the final form, 
with its different significance for Helmer and for Nora. 
There is no trace of the wonderful passage which precedes 
Rank's exit. To compare the draft with the finished 
scene is to see a perfect instance of the transmutation of 
dramatic prose into dramatic poetry. 

There is in the draft no indication of Helmer's being 
warmed with wine, or of the excitement of the senses 
which gives the final touch of tragedy to Nora's despair. 
The process of the action is practically the same in both 
versions; but everywhere in the final form a sharper edge 
is given to things. One little touch is very significant. 
In the draft, when Helmer has read the letter with which 
Krogstad returns the forged bill, he cries, " You are saved, 



14 A DOLL'S HOUSE 

Nora, you are saved!" In the revision, Ibsen cruelly 
altered this into, " I am saved, Nora, I am saved ! " In the 
final scene, where Nora is telling Helmer how she expected 
him, when the revelation came, to take all the guilt upon 
himself, we look in vain, in the first draft, for this pas- 
sage: 

HELMER. I would gladly work for you night and day, 
Nora bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no 
man sacrifices his honour, even for one he loves. 

NORA. Millions of women have done so. 

\ 

This, then, was an afterthought: was there ever a more 
brilliant one? 

It is with A Doll's House that Ibsen enters upon his 
kingdom as a world-poet. He had done greater work in 
the past, and he was to do greater work in the future; but 
this was the play which was destined to carry his name be- 
yond the limits of Scandinavia, and even of Germany, to 
the remotest regions of civilisation. Here the Fates were 
not altogether kind to him. The fact that for many years 
he was known to thousands of people solely as the author 
of A Doll's House and its successor, Ghosts, was largely 
responsible for the extravagant misconceptions of his 
genius and character which prevailed during the last 
decade of the nineteenth century, and are not yet entirely 
extinct. In these plays he seemed to be delivering a direct 
assault on marriage, from the standpoint of feminine indi- 
vidualism; wherefore he was taken to be a preacher and 
pamphleteer rather than a poet. In these plays, and in 
these only, he made physical disease a considerable factor 



INTRODUCTION 15 

in the action; whence it was concluded that he had a mor- 
bid predilection for "nauseous" subjects. In these plays 
he laid special and perhaps disproportionate stress on the 
influence of heredity; whence he was believed to be pos- 
sessed by a monomania on the point. In these plays, 
finally, he was trying to act the essentially uncongenial 
part of the prosaic realist. The effort broke down at 
many points, and the poet reasserted himself; but these 
flaws in the prosaic texture were regarded as mere be- 
wildering errors and eccentricities. In short, he was in- 
troduced to the world at large through two plays which 
showed his power, indeed, almost in perfection, but left 
the higher and subtler qualities of his genius for the most 
part unrepresented. Hence the grotesquely distorted 
vision of him which for so long haunted the minds even 
of intelligent people. Hence, for example, the amazing 
opinion, given forth as a truism by more than one critic 
of great ability, that the author of Peer Gynt was devoid 
of humour. 

Within a little more than a fortnight of its publication, 
A Doll's House was presented at the Royal Theatre, 
Copenhagen, where Fru Hennings, as Nora, made the 
great success of her career. The play was soon being 
acted, as well as read, all over Scandinavia. Nora's 
startling "declaration of independence" afforded such 
an inexhaustible theme for heated discussion, that at last 
it had to be formally barred at social gatherings, just as, 
in Paris twenty years later, the Dreyfus Case was pro- 
claimed a prohibited topic. The popularity of Pillars 
of Society in Germany had paved the way for its successor, 
which spread far and wide over the German stage in the 



16 A DOLL'S HOUSE 

spring of 1880, and has ever since held its place in the 
repertory of the leading theatres. As his works were at 
that time wholly unprotected in Germany, Ibsen could 
not prevent managers from altering the end of the play 
to suit their taste and fancy. He was thus driven, under 
protest, to write an alternative ending, in which, at the 
last moment, the thought of her children restrained Nora 
from leaving home. He preferred, as he said, "to com- 
mit the outrage himself, rather than leave his work to the 
tender mercies of adaptors." The patched-up ending 
soon dropped out of use and out of memory. Ibsen's own 
account of the matter will be found in his Correspondence, 
Letter 142. 

It took ten years for the play to pass beyond the limits 
of Scandinavia and Germany. Madame Modjeska, it 
is true, presented a version of it in Louisville, Kentucky, 
in 1883, but it attracted no attention. In the following 
year Messrs. Henry Arthur Jones and Henry Herman pro- 
duced at the Prince of Wales's Theatre, London, a play 
entitled Breaking a Butterfly, which was described as be- 
ing "founded on Ibsen's Norah," but bore only a remote 
resemblance to the original. In this production Mr. 
Beerbohm Tree took the part of Dunkley, a melodra- 
matic villain who filled the place of Krogstad. In 1885, 
again, an adventurous amateur club gave a quaint per- 
formance of Miss Lord's translation of the play at a hall 
in Argyle Street, London. Not until June 7, 1889, was 
A DoWs House competently, and even brilliantly, pre- 
sented to the English public, by Mr. Charles Charring- 
ton and Miss Janet Achurch, at the Novelty Theatre, 
London, afterwards re-named the Kingsway Theatre. 



INTRODUCTION 17 

It was this production that really made Ibsen known to 
the English-speaking peoples. In other words, it marked 
his second great stride towards world-wide, as distinct 
from merely national, renown if we reckon as the first 
stride the success of Pillars of Society in Germany. Mr. 
and Mrs. Charrington took A Doll's House with them on 
a long Australian tour; Miss Beatrice Cameron (Mrs. 
Richard Mansfield) was encouraged by the success of the 
London production to present the play in New York, 
whence it soon spread to other American cities; while in 
London itself it was frequently revived and vehemently 
discussed. The Ibsen controversy, indeed, did not break 
out in its full virulence until 1891, when Ghosts and Hedda 
Gabler were produced in London; but from the date of the 
Novelty production onwards, Ibsen was generally recog- 
nised as a potent factor in the intellectual and artistic 
life of the day. 

A French adaptation of Et Dukkehjem was produced 
in Brussels in March 1889, but attracted little attention. 
Not until 1894 was the play introduced to the Parisian 
public, at the Gymnase, with Madame Rejane as Nora. 
This actress has since played the part frequently, not 
only in Paris but in London and in America. In Italian 
the play was first produced in 1889, and soon passed into 
the repertory of Eleonora Duse, who appeared as Nora 
in London in 1893. Few heroines in modern drama have 
been played by so many actresses of the first rank. To 
those already enumerated must be added Hedwig Nie- 
mann-Raabe and Agnes Sorma in Germany, and Minnie 
Maddern-Fiske and Alia Nazimova in America; and, 
even so, the list is far from complete. There is probably 



18 A DOLL'S HOUSE 

no country in the world, possessing a theatre OIL the Euro- 
pean model, in which A Doll's House has not oeen more 
or less frequently acted. 

Undoubtedly the great attraction of the part of Nora 
to the average actress was the tarantella scene. This was 
a theatrical effect, of an obvious, unmistakable kind. It 
might have been though I am not aware that it ever 
actually was made the subject of a picture-poster. But 
this, as it seems to me, was Ibsen's last concession to the 
ideal of technique which he had acquired, in the old 
Bergen days, from his French masters. It was at this 
point or, more precisely, a little later, in the middle of 
the third act that Ibsen definitely outgrew the theatri- 
cal orthodoxy of his earlier years. When the action, in 
the theatrical sense, was over, he found himself only on 
the threshold of the essential drama; and in that drama, 
compressed into the final scene of the play, he proclaimed 
his true power and his true mission. 

How impossible, in his subsequent work, would be such 
figures as Mrs. Linden, the confidant, and Krogstad, the 
villain! They are not quite the ordinary confidant and 
villain, for Ibsen is always Ibsen, and his power of vital- 
isation is extraordinary. Yet we clearly feel them to be- 
long to a different order of art from that of his later plays. 
How impossible, too, in the poet's after years, would have 
been the little tricks of ironic coincidence and picturesque 
contrast which abound in A Doll's House! The festal 
atmosphere of the whole play, the Christmas-tree, the 
tarantella, the masquerade ball, with its distant sounds 
of music all the shimmer and tinsel of the background, 
against which Nora's soul-torture and Rank's despair are 



INTRODUCTION 19 

thrown into relief, belong to the system of external, arti- 
ficial antithesis beloved by romantic playwrights from 
Lope de Vega onward, and carried to its limit by Victor 
Hugo. The same artificiality is apparent in minor de- 
tails. "Oh, what a wonderful thing it is to live to be 
happy!" cries Nora, and instantly "The hall-door bell 
rings" and Krogstad's shadow falls across the threshold. 
So, too, for his second entrance, an elaborate effect of 
contrast is arranged, between Nora's gleeful romp with 
her children and the sinister figure which stands unan- 
nounced in their midst. It would be too much to call 
these things absolutely unnatural, but the very precision 
of the coincidence is eloquent of pre-arrangement. At 
any rate, they belong to an order of effects which in fu- 
ture Ibsen sedulously eschews. The one apparent ex- 
ception to this rule which I can remember occurs in The 
Master Builder, where Solness's remark, "Presently the 
younger generation will come knocking at my door," 
gives the cue for Hilda's knock and entrance. But here 
an interesting distinction is to be noted. Throughout 
The Master Builder the poet subtly indicates the opera- 
tion of mysterious, unseen agencies the "helpers and 
servers" of whom Solness speaks, as well as the Power 
with which he held converse at the crisis in his life guid- 
ing, or at any rate tampering with, the destinies of the 
characters. This being so, it is evident that the effect 
of pre-arrangement produced by Hilda's appearing ex- 
actly on the given cue was deliberately aimed at. Like 
so many other details in the play, it might be a mere co- 
incidence, or it might be a result of inscrutable design we 
were purposely left in doubt. But the suggestion of pre- 



20 A DOLL'S HOUSE 

arrangement which helped to create the atmosphere of 
Tlie Master Builder was wholly out of place in A DolVs 
House. In the later play it was a subtle stroke of art ; in 
the earlier it was the effect of imperfectly dissembled 
artifice. 

The fact that Ibsen's full originality first reveals itself 
in the latter half of the third act is proved by the very 
protests, nay, the actual rebellion, which the last scene 
called forth. Up to that point he had been doing, ap- 
proximately, what theatrical orthodoxy demanded of him. 
But when Nora, having put off her masquerade dress, re- 
turned to make up her account with Helmer, and with 
marriage as Helmer understood it, the poet flew in the 
face of orthodoxy, and its professors cried out in bewil- 
derment and wrath. But it was just at this point that, in 
practice, the real grip and thrill of the drama were found 
to come in. The tarantella scene never, in my experi- 
ence and I have seen five or six great actresses in the 
part produced an effect in any degree commensurate 
with the effort involved. But when Nora and Helmer 
faced each other, one on each side of the table, and set to 
work to ravel out the skein of their illusions, then one felt 
oneself face to face with a new thing in drama an order 
of experience, at once intellectual and emotional, not 
hitherto attained in the theatre. This every one felt, I 
think, who was in any way accessible to that order of 
experience. For my own part, I shall never forget how 
surprised I was on first seeing the play, to find this scene, 
in its naked simplicity, far more exciting and moving 
than all the artfully-arranged situations of the earlier 
acts. To the same effect, from another point of view, we 



INTRODUCTION 21 

have the testimony of Fru Hennings, the first actress who 
ever played the part of Nora. In an interview published 
soon after Ibsen's death, she spoke of the delight it was to 
her, in her youth, to embody the Nora of the first and sec- 
ond acts, the "lark," the "squirrel," the irresponsible, 
butterfly Nora. "When I now play the part," she went 
on, "the first acts leave me indifferent. Not until the 
third act am I really interested but then, intensely." 
To call the first and second acts positively uninteresting 
would of course be a gross exaggeration. What one really 
means is that their workmanship is still a little derivative 
and immature, and that not until the third act does the 
poet reveal the full originality and individuality of his 
genius. 



A DOLL'S HOUSE 



CHARACTERS 

TORVALD HELMER. 

NORA, his wife. 

DOCTOR RANK. 

MRS. LINDEN.* 

NILS KROGSTAD. 

THE HELMERS' THREE CHILDREN. 

ANNA, 2 their nurse. 

A MAID-SERVANT (ELLEN). 

A PORTER. 



The action passes in Helmer's house (a flat) in Christiania, 

1 In the original " Fru Linde." 
1 In the original " Anne-Marie." 



A DOLL'S HOUSE 



ACT FIRST 

A room, comfortably and tastefully, but not expensively, 
furnished. In the back, on the right, a door leads to 
the hall; on the left another door leads to HELMER'S 
study. Between the two doors a pianoforte. In the 
middle of the left wall a door, and nearer the front a 
window. Near the window a round table with arm- 
chairs and a small sofa. In the right wall, some- 
what to the back, a door, and against the same wall, 
further forward, a porcelain stove; in front of it a 
couple of arm-chairs and a rocking-chair. Between 
the stove and the side-door a small table. Engravings 
on the walls. A what-not with china and bric-a-brac. 
A small bookcase jilled with handsomely bound books. 
Carpet. A fire in the stove. It is a winter day. 

A bell rings in the hall outside. Presently the outer door 
of the flat is heard to open. Then NORA enters, 
humming gaily. She is in outdoor dress, and carries 
several parcels, which she lays on the right-hand 
table. She leaves the door into the hall open, and a 
PORTER is seen outside, carrying a Christmas-tree 
and a basket, which he gives to the MAID-SERVANT 
who has opened the door. 

NORA. 

Hide the Christmas-tree carefully, Ellen ; the children 
must on no account see it before this evening, when it's 



26 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

lighted up. [ To the PORTER, taking out her purse. \ How 
much? 

PORTER. 
Fifty ore. 1 

NORA. 

There is a crown. No, keep the change. 

[The PORTER thanks her and goes. NORA shuts the 
door. She continues smiling in quiet glee as she 
takes off" her outdoor things. Taking from her 
pocket a bag of macaroons, she eats one or two. 
Then she goes on tip-toe to her husband's door 
and listens. 

NORA. 
Yes; he is at home. 

[She begins humming again, crossing to the table on 
the right. 

HELMER. 
[In his room.] Is that my lark twittering there ? 

NORA. 
[Busy opening some of her parcels.] Yes, it is. 

HELMER. 
Is it the squirrel frisking around? 

NORA. 

Yes! 

HELMER. 
When did the squirrel get home ? 

1 About sixpence. There are 100 ore in a krone or crown, which 
is worth thirteenpence halfpenny. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 27 

NORA. 

Just this minute. [Hides the bag of macaroons in her 
pocket and wipes her mouth.] Come here, Torvald, and 
see what I've been buying. 

HELMER. 

Don't interrupt me. [A little later he opens the door 
and looks in, pen in hand.] Buying, did you say ? What ! 
All that? Has my little spendthrift been making the 
money fly again ? 

NORA. 

Why, Torvald, surely we can afford to launch out a 
little now. It's the first Christmas we haven't had to 
pinch. 

HELMER. 
Come come; we can't afford to squander money. 

NORA. 

Oh yes, Torvald, do let us squander a little, now just 
the least little bit! You know you'll soon be earning 
heaps of money. 

HELMER. 

Yes, from New Year's Day. But there's a whole 
quarter before my first salary is due. 

NORA. 
Never mind; we can borrow in the meantime. 

HELMER. 

Nora! [He goes up to her and takes her playfully by 
the ear.] Still my little featherbrain! Supposing I bor- 



28 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

rowed a thousand crowns to-day, and you made ducks 
and drakes of them during Christmas week, and then on 
New Year's Eve a tile blew off the roof and knocked my 
brains out 

NORA. 

[Laying her hand on his mouth.} Hush! How can 
you talk so horridly ? 

HELMER. 
But supposing it were to happen what then ? 

NORA. 

If anything so dreadful happened, it would be all the 
same to me whether I was in debt or not. 

HELMER. 
But what about the creditors? 

NORA. 
They! Who cares for them ? They're only strangers. 

HELMER. 

Nora, Nora! What a woman you are! But seri- 
ously, Nora, you know my principles on these points. 
No debts! No borrowing! Home life ceases to be free 
and beautiful as soon as it is founded on borrowing and 
debt. We two have held out bravely till now, and we 
, are not going to give in at the last. 

NORA. 

[Going to the fireplace.] Very well as you please, 
Torvald. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 29 

HELMER. 

[Following her.] Come come; my little lark mustn't 
droop her wings like that. What ? Is my squirrel in the 
sulks ? [Takes out his purse.] Nora, what do you think 
I have here? 

NORA. 
[Turning round quickly.] Money! 

HELMER. 

There! [Gives her some notes.] Of course I know 
all sorts of things are wanted at Christmas. 

NORA. 

[Counting.] Ten, twenty, thirty, forty. Oh, thank 
you> thank you, Torvald! This will go a long way. 

HELMER. 
I should hope so. 

NORA. 

Yes, indeed; a long way! But come here, and let me 
show you all I've been buying. And so cheap! Look, 
here's a new suit for Ivar, and a little sword. Here are a 
horse and a trumpet for Bob. And here are a doll and a 
cradle for Emmy. They're only common; but they're 
good enough for her to pull to pieces. And dress-stuffs 
and kerchiefs for the servants. I ought to have got some- 
thing better for old Anna. 

HELMER. 
And what's in that other parcel ? 



30 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

NORA. 

[Crying out.] No, Torvald, you're not to see that 
until this evening. 

HELMER. 

Oh ! Ah ! But now tell me, you little spendthrift, have 
you thought of anything for yourself? 

NORA. 
For myself! Oh, I don't want anything. 

HELMER. 

Nonsense! Just tell me something sensible you would 
like to have. 

NORA. 

No, really I don't know of anything Well, listen, 

Torvald 

HELMER. 
Well? 

NORA. 

[Playing with his coat-buttons, without looking him in 
the face.] If you really want to give me something, you 
might, you know you might 

HELMER. 
Well? Out with it! 

NORA. 

[Quickly.] You might give me money, Torvald. Only 
just what you think you can spare; then I can buy some- 
thing with it later on. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 31 

HELMER. 
But, Nora 

NORA. 

Oh, please do, dear Torvald, please do! I should 
hang the money in lovely gilt paper on the Christmas- 
tree. Wouldn't that be fun ? 

HELMER. 

What do they call the birds that are always making 
the money fly? 

NORA. 

Yes, I know spendthrifts, 1 of course. But please do 
as I ask you, Torvald. Then I shall have time to think 
what I want most. Isn't that very sensible, now ? 

HELMER. 

[Smiling.] Certainly; that is to say, if you really kept 
the money I gave you, and really spent it on something 
for yourself. But it all goes in housekeeping, and for 
all manner of useless things, and then I have to pay up 
again. 

NORA. 
But, Torvald 

HELMER. 

Can you deny it, Nora dear ? [He puts his arm round 
her.] It's a sweet little lark, but it gets through a lot of 
money. No one would believe how much it costs a man 
to keep such a little bird as you. 

1 "Spillefugl," literally "playbird," means a gambler. 



32 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

NORA. 

For shame! How can you say so? Why, I save as 
much as ever I can. 

HELMER. 

[Laughing.] Very true as much as you can but 
that's precisely nothing. 

NORA. 

[Hums and smiles with covert glee.] H'm! If you 
only knew, Torvald, what expenses we larks and squir- 
rels have. 

HELMER. 

You're a strange little being! Just like your father 
always on the look-out for all the money you can lay 
your hands on; but the moment you have it, it seems to 
slip through your fingers; you never know what becomes 
of it. Well, one must take you as you are. It's in the 
blood. Yes, Nora, that sort of thing is hereditary. 

NORA. 
I wish I had inherited many of papa's qualities. 

HELMER. 

And I don't wish you anything but just what you are 
my own, sweet little song-bird. But I say it strikes me 
you look so so what shall I call it? so suspicious 
to-day 

NORA. 
Do I? 

HELMER. 
You do, indeed. Look me full in the face. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 33 

NORA. 
[Looking at him.] Well? 

HELMER. 

[Threatening with his finger.} Hasn't the little sweet- 
tooth been playing pranks to-day? 

NORA. 
No; how can you think such a thing! 

HELMER. 
Didn't she just look in at the confectioner's? 

NORA. 
No, Torvald; really 

HELMER. 
Not to sip a little jelly ? 

NORA. 
No; certainly not. 

HELMER. 
Hasn't she even nibbled a macaroon or two? 

NORA. 
No, Torvald, indeed, indeed! 

HELMER. 
Well, well, well; of course I'm only joking. 



34 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT 

NORA. 

[Goes to the table on the right.] I shouldn't think of 
doing what you disapprove of. 

HELMER. 

No, I'm sure of that; and, besides, you've given me 
your word [Going towards her.] Well, keep your 
little Christmas secrets to yourself, Nora darling. The 
Christmas-tree will bring them all to light, I daresay. 

NORA. 

Have you remembered to invite Doctor Rank ? 

t 

HELMER. 

No. But it's not necessary; he'll come as a matter of 
course. Besides, I shall ask him when he looks in to-day. 
I've ordered some capital wine. Nora, you can't think 
how I look forward to this evening. 

NORA. 

And I too. How the children will enjoy themselves, 
Torvald! 

HELMER. 

Ah, it's glorious to feel that one has an assured position 
and ample means. Isn't it delightful to think of? 

NORA. 
Oh, it's wonderful! 

HELMER. 

Do you remember last Christmas? For three whole 
weeks beforehand you shut yourself up every evening till 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 35 

long past midnight to make flowers for the Christmas- 
tree, and all sorts of other marvels that were to have as- 
tonished us. I was never so bored in my life. 

NORA. 
I didn't bore myself at all. 

HELMEB. 

[Smiling.] But it came to little enough in the end, 
Nora. 

NORA. 

Oh, are you going to tease me about that again ? 
How could I help the cat getting in and pulling it all to 
pieces ? 

HELMER. 

To be sure you couldn't, my poor little Nora. You 
did your best to give us all pleasure, and that's the main 
point. But, all the same, it's a good thing the hard 
times are over. 

NORA. 
Oh, isn't it wonderful ? 

HELMER. 

Now I needn't sit here boring myself all alone; and 
you needn't tire your blessed eyes and your delicate little 
fingers 

NORA. 

[Clapping her hands.] No, I needn't, need I, Torvald ? 
Oh, how wonderful it is to think of? [Takes his arm.] 
And now I'll tell you how I think we ought to manage, 



36 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT I 

Torvald. As soon as Christmas is over [The hall- 
door bell rings.] Oh, there's a ring! [Arranging the 
room.] That's somebody come to call. How tiresome! 

HELMER. 
I'm "not at home" to callers; remember that. 

ELLEN. 
[In the doorway.] A lady to see you, ma'am. 

NORA. 
Show her in. 

ELLEN. 
[To HELMER.] And the doctor has just come, sir. 

HELMER. 
Has he gone into my study? 

ELLEN. 
Yes, sir. 

[HELMER goes into his study. ELLEN ushers in MRS. 
LINDEN, in travelling costume, and goes out, clos- 
ing the door. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
[Embarrassed and hesitating.] How do you do, Nora ? 

NORA. 
[Doubtfully.] How do you do ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
I see you don't recognise me! 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 37 

NORA. 

No, I don't think oh yes! I believe [Suddenly 

brightening.] What, Christina! Is it really you? 

MBS. LINDEN. 
Yes; really I! 

NORA. 

Christina! And to think I didn't know you! But 

how could I [More softly.] How changed you 

are, Christina! 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes, no doubt. In nine or ten years 

NORA. 

Is it really so long since we met ? Yes, so it is. Oh, 
the last eight years have been a happy time, I can tell 
you. And now you have come to town ? All that long 
journey in mid-winter! How brave of you! 

MRS. LINDEN. 
I arrived by this morning's steamer. 

NORA. 

To have a merry Christmas, of course. Oh, how de- 
lightful ! Yes, we will have a merry Christmas. Do 
take your things off. Aren't you frozen? [Helping 
her.] There; now we'll sit cosily by the fire. No, you 
take the arm-chair; I shall sit in this rocking-chair. 
[Seizes her hands.] Yes, now I can see the dear old face 

again. It was only at the first glance But you're a 

little paler, Christina and perhaps a little thinner. 



38 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

MRS. LINDEN. 
And much, much older, Nora. 

NOKA. 

Yes, perhaps a little older not much ever so little. 
[She suddenly checks herself; seriously.] Oh, what a 
thoughtless wretch I am! Here I sit chattering on, 
and Dear, dear Christina, can you forgive me! 

MRS. LINDEN. 
What do you mean, Nora ? 

NORA. 
[Softly.] Poor Christina! I forgot: you are a widow. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes; my husband died three years ago. 

NORA. 

I know, I know; I saw it in the papers. Oh, believe 
me, Christina, I did mean to write to you; but I kept 
putting it off, and something always came in the way. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
I can quite understand that, Nora dear. 

NORA. 

No, Christina; it was horrid of me. Oh, you poor 
darling! how much you must have gone through! And 
he left you nothing ? 



ACT ij A DOLL'S HOUSE 39 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Nothing. 

NORA. 
And no children? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
None. 

NORA. 
Nothing, nothing at all ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Not even a sorrow or a longing to dwell upon. 

NORA. 

[Looking at her incredulously.] My dear Christina, 
how is that possible ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Smiling sadly and stroking her hair.] Oh, it happens 
so sometimes, Nora. 

NORA. 

So utterly alone! How dreadful that must be! I have 
three of the loveliest children. I can't show them to 
you just now; they're out with their nurse. But now 
you must tell me everything. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
No, no; I want you to tell me 

NORA. 

No, you must begin; 1 won't be egotistical to-day. 
To-day I'll think only of you. Oh! but I must tell you 



40 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

one thing perhaps you've heard of our great stroke of 
fortune ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
No. What is it? 

NORA. 

Only think! my husband has been made manager of 
the Joint Stock Bank. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Your husband! Oh, how fortunate! 

NORA. 

Yes ; isn't it ? A lawyer's position is so uncertain, you 
see, especially when he won't touch any business that's 
the least bit shady, as of course Torvald never would; 
and there I quite agree with him. Oh! you can imagine 
how glad we are. He is to enter on his new position at 
the New Year, and then he'll have a large salary, and 
percentages. In future we shall be able to live quite 
differently just as we please, in fact. Oh, Christina, I 
feel so lighthearted and happy! It's delightful to have 
lots of money, and no need to worry about things, isn't 
it? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Yes; at any rate it must be delightful to have what 
YOU need. 

NORA. 

No, not only what you need, but heaps of money 
heaps ! 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 41 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Smiling.] Nora, Nora, haven't you learnt reason 
yet ? In our schooldays you were a shocking little spend- 
thrift. 

NORA. 

[Quietly smiling.] Yes; that's what Torvald says I am 
still. [Holding up her forefinger.] But " Nora, Nora" 
is not so silly as you all think. Oh! I haven't had the 
chance to be much of a spendthrift. We have both had 
to work. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
You too? 

NORA. 

Yes, light fancy work: crochet, and embroidery, and 
things of that sort; [Carelessly] and other work too. 
You know, of course, that Torvald left the Government 
service when we were married. He had little chance of 
promotion, and of course he required to make more 
money. But in the first year after our marriage he over- 
worked himself terribly. He had to undertake all sorts 
of extra work, you know, and to slave early and late. 
He couldn't stand it, and fell dangerously ill. Then 
the doctors declared he must go to the South. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
You spent a whole year in Italy, didn't you ? 

NORA. 

Yes, we did. It wasn't easy to manage, I can tell you. 
It was just after Ivar's birth. But of course we had to 



42 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

go. Oh, it was a wonderful, delicious journey! And it 
saved Torvald's life. But it cost a frightful lot of money, 
Christina. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
So I should think. 

NORA. 

Twelve hundred dollars! Four thousand eight hun- 
dred crowns! l Isn't that a lot of money? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
How lucky you had the money to spend! 

NORA. 
We got it from father, you must know. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Ah, I see. He died just about that time, didn't he ? 

NORA. 

Yes, Christina, just then. And only think! I couldn't 
go and nurse him! I was expecting little Ivar's birth 
daily; and then I had my poor sick Torvald to attend to. 
Dear, kind old father! I never saw him again, Christina. 
Oh! that's the hardest thing I have had to bear since my 
marriage. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

I know how fond you were of him. But then you went 
to Italy ? 

1 The dollar (4s. 6d.) was the old unit of currency in Norway. 
The crown was substituted for it shortly before the date of this play. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 43 

NORA. 

Yes; you see, we had the money, and the doctors said 
we must lose no time. We started a month later. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
And your husband came back completely cured. 

NORA. 
Sound as a bell. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
But the doctor? 

NORA. 
What do you mean ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

I thought as I came in your servant announced the 
doctor 

NORA. 

Oh, yes; Doctor Rank. But he doesn't come profes- 
sionally. He is our best friend, and never lets a day 
pass without looking in. No, Torvald hasn't had an 
hour's illness since that time. And the children are so 
healthy and well, and so am I. [Jumps up and claps 
her hands.] Oh, Christina, Christina, what a wonderful 
thing it is to live and to be happy! Oh, but it's really 
too horrid of me! Here am I talking about nothing but 
my own concerns. [Seats herself upon a footstool close to 
CHRISTINA, and lays her arms on her friend's lap.] Oh, 
don't be angry with me! Now tell me, is it really true 
that you didn't love your husband? What made you 
marry him, then? 



44 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

MRS. LINDEN. 

My mother was still alive, you see, bedridden and help- 
less; and then I had my two younger brothers to think 
of. I didn't think it would be right for me to refuse him. 

NORA. 

Perhaps it wouldn't have been. I suppose he was rich 
then? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Very well off, I believe. But his business was uncer- 
tain. It fell to pieces at his death, and there was nothing 
left. 

NORA. 

And then ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Then I had to fight my way by keeping a shop, a little 
school, anything I could turn my hand to. The last 
three years have been one long struggle for me. But now 
it is over, Nora. My poor mother no longer needs me; 
she is at rest. And the boys are in business, and can 
look after themselves. 

NORA. 
How free your life must feel! 

MRS. LINDEN. 

No, Nora; only inexpressibly empty. No one to live 
for! [Stands up restlessly.] That's why I could not bear 
to stay any longer in that out-of-the-way corner. Here 
it must be easier to find something to take one up to 
occupy one's thoughts. If I could only get some settled 
employment some office work. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 45 

NORA. 

But, Christina, that's such drudgery, and you look 
worn out already. It would be ever so much better for 
you to go to some watering-place and rest. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Going to the window.] I have no father to give me 
the money, Nora. 

NORA. 
[Rising.] Oh, don't be vexed with me. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Going to her] My dear Nora, don't you be vexed 
with me. The worst of a position like mine is that it 
makes one so bitter. You have no one to work for, yet 
you have to be always on the strain. You must live; and 
so you become selfish. When I heard of the happy change 
in your fortunes can you believe it ? I was glad for my 
own sake more than for yours. 

NORA. 

How do you mean ? Ah, I see! You think Torvald 
can perhaps do something for you. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes; I thought so. 

NORA. 

And so he shall, Christina. Just you leave it all to me. 
I shall lead up to it beautifully! I shall think of some 



46 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

delightful plan to put him in a good humour! Oh, I 
should so love to help you. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

How good of you, Nora, to stand by me so warmly! 
Doubly good in you, who knows so little of the troubles 
and burdens of life. 

NORA. 
I? I know so little of ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Smiling.] Oh, well a little fancy-work, and so forth. 
You're a child, Nora. 

NORA. 

[Tosses her head and paces the room.] Oh, come, you 
mustn't be so patronising! 

MRS. LINDEN. 
No? 

NORA. 

You're like the rest. You all think I'm fit for nothing 
really serious 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Well, well 

NORA. 
You think I've had no troubles in this weary world. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
My dear Nora, you've just told me all your troubles. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 47 

NORA. 

Pooh those trifles! [Softly.] I haven't told you the 
great thing. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
The great thing ? What do you mean ? 

NORA. 

I know you look down upon me, Christina; but you 
have no right to. You are proud of having worked so 
hard and so long for your mother. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

I am sure I don't look down upon any one; but it's 
true I am both proud and glad when I remember that I 
was able to keep my mother's last days free from care. 

NORA. 

And you're proud to think of what you have done for 
your brothers, too. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Have I not the right to be? 

NORA. 

Yes indeed. But now let me tell you, Christina I, 
too, have something to be proud and glad of. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
I don't doubt it. But what do you mean ? 



48 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

NORA. 

Hush! Not so loud. Only think, if Torvald were to 
hear! He mustn't not for worlds! No one must know 
about it, Christina no one but you. 

MRS LINDEN. 
Why, what can it be ? 

NORA. 

Come over here. [Draws her down beside her on the 
sofa.] Yes, Christina I, too, have something to be proud 
and glad of. I saved Torvald's life. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Saved his life? How? 

NORA. 

I told you about our going to Italy. Torvald would 
have died but for that. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Well and your father gave you the money. 

NORA. 

[Smiling.] Yes, so Torvald and every one believes; 
but 

MRS. LINDEN. 

But ? 

NORA. 

Papa didn't give us one penny. It was I that found 
the money. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 49 

MRS. LINDEN. 
You ? All that money ? 

NORA. 

Twelve hundred dollars. Four thousand eight hun- 
dred crowns. What do you say to that? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

My dear Nora, how did you manage it ? Did you win 
it in the lottery ? 

NORA. 

[Contemptuously.] In the lottery? Pooh! Any one 
could have done that! 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Then wherever did you get it from ? 

NORA. 
[Hums and smiles mysteriously.] H'm; tra-la-la-la! 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Of course you couldn't borrow it. 

NORA. 
No? Why not? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Why, a wife can't borrow without her husband's con- 
sent. 



50 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

NORA. 

[Tossing her head.] Oh! when the wife has some idea 
of business, and knows how to set about things 

MRS. LINDEN. 
But, Nora, I don't understand 

NORA. 

Well, you needn't. I never said I borrowed the money. 
There are many ways I may have got it. [Throws herself 
back on the sofa.] I may have got it from some admirer. 
When one is so attractive as I am 

MRS. LINDEN. 
You're too silly, Nora. 

NORA. 
Now I'm sure you're dying of curiosity, Christina 



MRS. LINDEN. 

Listen to me, Nora dear: haven't you been a little 
rash? 

NORA. 

[Sitting upright again.] Is it rash to save one's hus- 
band's life? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
I think it was rash of you, without his knowledge 

NORA. 

But it would have been fatal for him to know! Can't 
you understand that? He wasn't even to suspect how 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 51 

ill he was. The doctors came to me privately and told 
me his life was in danger that nothing could save him 
but a winter in the South. Do you think I didn't try 
diplomacy first ? I told him how I longed to have a trip 
abroad, like other young wives; I wept and prayed; I 
said he ought to think of my condition, and not to thwart 
me; and then I hinted that he could borrow the money. 
But then, Christina, he got almost angry. He said I was 
frivolous, and that it was his duty as a husband not to 
yield to my whims and fancies so he called them. Very 
well, thought I, but saved you must be; and then I found 
the way to do it. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

And did your husband never learn from your father 
that the money was not from him? 

NORA. 

No; never. Papa died at that very time. I meant 
to have told him all about it, and begged him to say 
nothing. But he was so ill unhappily, it wasn't neces- 
sary. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
And you have never confessed to your husband ? 

NORA. 

Good heavens! What can you be thinking of ? Tell 
him, when he has such a loathing of debt! And be- 
sides how painful and humiliating it would be for Tor- 
vald, with his manly self-respect, to know that he owed 
anything to me! It would utterly upset the relation be- 
tween us; our beautiful, happy home would never again 
be what it is. 



52 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Will you never tell him ? 

NORA. 

[Thoughtfully, half-smiling.] Yes, some time perhaps 
many, many years hence, when I'm not so pretty. 
You mustn't laugh at me! Of course I mean when Tor- 
vald is not so much in love with me as he is now; when 
it doesn't amuse him any longer to see me dancing about, 
and dressing up and acting. Then it might be well to 
have something in reserve. [Breaking off.] Nonsense! 
nonsense! That time will never come. Now, what do 
you say to my grand secret, Christina? Am I fit for 
nothing now? You may believe it has cost me a lot of 
anxiety. It has been no joke to meet my engagements 
punctually. You must know, Christina, that in business 
there are things called instalments, and quarterly inter- 
est, that are terribly hard to provide for. So I've had to 
pinch a little here and there, wherever I could. I couldn't 
save much out of the housekeeping, for of course Torvald 
had to live well. And I couldn't let the children go about 
badly dressed; all I got for them, I spent on them, the 
blessed darlings! 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Poor Nora! So it had to come out of your own pocket- 
money. 

NORA. 

Yes, of course. After all, the whole thing was my do- 
ing. When Torvald gave me money for clothes, and so 
on, I never spent more than half of it; I always bought the 
simplest and cheapest things. It's a mercy that every- 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 53 

thing suits me so well Torvald never had any suspicions. 
But it was often very hard, Christina dear. For it's nice 
to be beautifully dressed now, isn't it? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Indeed it is. 

NORA. 

Well, and besides that, I made money in other ways. 
Last winter I was so lucky I got a heap of copying to 
do. I shut myself up every evening and wrote far into 
the night. Oh, sometimes I was so tired, so tired. And 
yet it was splendid to work in that way and earn money. 
I almost felt as if I was a man. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Then how much have you been able to pay off ? 

NORA. 

Well, I can't precisely say. It's difficult to keep that 
sort of business clear. I only know that I've paid every- 
thing I could scrape together. Sometimes I really didn't 
know where to turn. [Smiles.] Then I used to sit here 
and pretend that a rich old gentleman was in love with 
me 

MRS. LINDEN. 
What! What gentleman ? 

NORA. 

Oh, nobody! that he was dead now, and that when his 
will was opened, there stood in large letters : " Pay over 
at once everything of which I die possessed to that charm- 
ing person, Mrs. Nora Helmer." 



54 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

MRS. LINDEN. 
But, my dear Nora what gentleman do you mean ? 

NORA. 

Oh dear, can't you understand? There wasn't any 
old gentleman: it was only what I used to dream and 
dream when I was at my wits' end for money. But it 
doesn't matter now the tiresome old creature may stay 
where he is for me. I care nothing for him or his will; 
for now my troubles are over. [Springing up.] Oh, 
Christina, how glorious it is to think of! Free from all 
anxiety! Free, quite free. To be able to play and 
romp about with the children; to have things tasteful 
and pretty in the house, exactly as Torvald likes it! 
And then the spring will soon be here, with the great 
blue sky. Perhaps then we shall have a little holiday. 
Perhaps I shall see the sea again. Oh, what a wonder- 
ful thing it is to live and to be happy! 

[The hall-door bell rings. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
[Rising.] There's a ring. Perhaps I had better go. 

NORA. 

No; do stay. No one will come here. It's sure to 
be some one for Torvald. 

ELLEN. 

[In the doorway.] If you please, ma'am, there's a 
gentleman to speak to Mr. Helmer. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 55 

NORA. 
Who is the gentleman ? 

KROGSTAD. 

[In the doorway,] It is I, Mrs. Helmer. 

[MRS. LINDEN starts and turns away to the window. 

NORA. 

[Goes a step towards him, anxiously, speaking low.] 
You? What is it? What do you want with my hus- 
< band ? 

KROGSTAD. 

Bank business in a way. I hold a small post in the 
Joint Stock Bank, and your husband is to be our new 
chief, I hear. 

NORA. 
Then it is ? 

KROGSTAD. 
Only tiresome business, Mrs. Helmer; nothing more. 

NORA. 

Then will you please go to his study. 

[KROGSTAD goes. She bows indifferently while she 
closes the door into the hall. Then she goes to the 
stove and looks to thejire. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Nora who was that man ? 



56 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

NORA. 
A Mr. Krogstad a lawyer. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Then it was really he? 

NORA. 
Do you know him ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

I used to know him many years ago. He was in a 
lawyer's office in our town. 

NORA. 
Yes, so he was. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
How he has changed! 

NORA. 
I believe his marriage was unhappy. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
And he is a widower now? 

NORA. 

With a lot of children. There! Now it will burn up. 
[She closes the stove, and pushes the rocking-chair a 
little aside. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
His business is not of the most creditable, they say ? 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 57 

NORA. 

Isn't it? I daresay not. I don't know. But don't 
let us think of business it's so tiresome. 

DR. RANK comes out of HELMER'S room. 

RANK. 

[Still in the doorway.] No, no; I'm in your way. I 
shall go and have a chat with your wife. [Shuts the 
door and sees MRS. LINDEN.] Oh, I beg your pardon. 
I'm in the way here too. 

NORA. 

No, not in the least. [Introduces them.] Doctor Rank 
Mrs. Linden. 

RANK. 

Oh, indeed; I've often heard Mrs. Linden's name; 
I think I passed you on the stairs as I came up. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes; I go so very slowly. Stairs try me so much. 

RANK. 

Ah you are not very strong? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Only overworked. 

RANK. 

Nothing more ? Then no doubt you've come to town 
to find rest in a round of dissipation ? 



58 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

MRS. LINDEN. 
I have come to look for employment. 

RANK. 
Is that an approved remedy for overwork? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
One must live, Doctor Rank. 

RANK. 
Yes, that seems to be the general opinion. 

NORA. 
Come, Doctor Rank you want to live yourself. 

RANK. 

To be sure I do. However wretched I may be, I want 
to drag on as long as possible. All my patients, too, have 
the same mania. And it's the same with people whose 
complaint is moral. At this very moment Helmer is talk- 
ing to just such a moral incurable 

MRS. LINDEN. 
[So/%.] Ah! 

NORA. 
Whom do you mean ? 

RANK. 

Oh, a fellow named Krogstad, a man you know noth- 
ing about corrupt to the very core of his character. But 
even he began by announcing, as a matter of vast import- 
ance, that he must live. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 59 

NORA. 
Indeed ? And what did he want with Torvald ? 

RANK. 

I haven't an idea; I only gathered that it was some 
bank business. 

NORA. 

I didn't know that Krog that this Mr. Krogstad had 
anything to do with the Bank? 

RANK. 

Yes. He has got some sort of place there. [To MRS. 
LINDEN.] I don't know whether in your part of the 
country, you have people who go grubbing and sniffing 
around in search of moral rottenness and then, when 
they have found a "case," don't rest till they have got 
their man into some good position, where they can keep 
a watch upon him. Men with a clean bill of health they 
leave out in the cold. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Well, I suppose the delicate characters require most 
care. 

RANK. 

[Shrugs his shoulders.] There we have it! It's that 
notion that makes society a hospital. 

[NoRA, deep in her own thoughts, breaks into half- 
stifled laughter and claps her hands. 

BANK. 

Why do you laugh at that ? Have you any idea what 
"society" is? 



60 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

NORA. 

What do I care for your tiresome society? I was 
laughing at something else something excessively amus- 
ing. Tell me, Doctor Rank, are all the employees at the 
Bank dependent on Torvald now? 

RANK. 
Is that what strikes you as excessively amusing? 

NORA. 

[Smiles and hums.] Never mind, nevermind! [Walks 
about the room.] Yes, it is funny to think that we that 
Torvald has such power over so many people. [Takes 
the bag from her pocket.] Doctor Rank, will you have a 
macaroon ? 

RANK. 

What! macaroons! I thought they were contraband 
here. 

NORA. 
Yes; but Christina brought me these. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
What! I ? 

NORA. 

Oh, well! Don't be frightened. You couldn't possi- 
bly know that Torvald had forbidden them. The fact 
is, he's afraid of me spoiling my teeth. But, oh bother, 
just for once! That's for you, Doctor Rank! [Puts 
a macaroon into his mouth.] And you too, Christina. 
And I'll have one while we're about it only a tiny one, 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 01 

or at most two. [Walks about again.] Oh dear, I am 
happy ! There's only one thing in the world I really want. 

RANK. 

Well; what's that? 

NORA. 

There's something I should so like to say in Torvald's 
hearing. 

RANK. 

Then why don't you say it ? 

NORA. 
Because I daren't, it's so ugly. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Ugly! 

RANK. 

In that case you'd better not. But to us you might 

What is it you would so like to say in Helmer's hearing ? 

NORA. 
I should so love to say "Damn it all!" 1 

RANK. 

Are you out of your mind ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Good gracious, Nora ! 

1 "Dod og pine," literally "death and torture"; but by usage 
a comparatively mild oath. 



62 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

RANK. 

Say it there he is! 

NORA. 
[Hides the macaroons.] Hush sh sh! 

HELMER comes out of his room, hat in hand, with 
his ffiuercoat on his arm. 

NORA. 

[Going to him.] Well, Torvald dear, have you got rid 
of him ? 

HELMER. 
Yes; he has just gone. 

NORA. 

Let me introduce you this is Christina, who has 
come to town 

HELMER. 
Christina? Pardon me, I don't know 

NORA. 
Mrs. Linden, Torvald dear Christina Linden. 

HELMER. 

[To MRS. LINDEN.] Indeed! A school-friend of my 
wife's, no doubt? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes; we knew each other as girls. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 63 

NORA. 

And only think! she has taken this long journey on 
purpose to speak to you. 

HELMEB. 
To speak to me! 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Well, not quite 

NORA. 

You see, Christina is tremendously clever at office- 
work, and she's so anxious to work under a first-rate 
man of business in order to learn still more 

HELMER. 
[To MRS. LINDEN.] Very sensible indeed. 

NORA. 

And when she heard you were appointed manager 
it was telegraphed, you know she started off at once, 
and Torvald, dear, for my sake, you must do some- 
thing for Christina. Now can't you ? 

HELMER. 

It's not impossible. I presume Mrs. Linden is a 

widow ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes. 

HELMER. 

And you have already had some experience of busi- 
ness? 



64 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

MRS. LINDEN. 
A good deal. 

HELMER. 

Well, then, it's very likely I may be able to find a 
place for you. 

NORA. 
[Clapping her hands.] There now! There now! 

HELMER. 
You have come at a fortunate moment, Mrs. Linden. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Oh, how can I thank you ? 

HELMER. 

[Smiling.] There is no occasion. [Puts on his over- 
coat.] But for the present you must excuse me 

RANK. 

Wait; I am going with you. 

[Fetches his fur coat from the hall and warms it at 
thejlre. 

NORA. 
Don't be long, Torvald dear. 

HELMER. 
Only an hour; not more. 

NORA. 
Are you going too, Christina? 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 65 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Putting on her walking things.] Yes; I must set 
about looking for lodgings. 

HELMER. 
Then perhaps we can go together ? 

NORA. 

[Helping her.] What a pity we haven't a spare room 
for you; but it's impossible 

MRS. LINDEN. 

I shouldn't think of troubling you. Good-bye, dear 
Nora, and thank you for all your kindness. 

NORA. 

Good-bye for the present. Of course you'll come back 
this evening. And you, too, Doctor Rank. What! If 
you're well enough ? Of course you'll be well enough. 
Only wrap up warmly. [They go out, talking, into the 
hall. Outside on the stairs are heard children's voices] 
There they are! There they are! [She runs to the outer 
door and opens it. The nurse, ANNA, enters the hall with 
the children] Come in! Come in! [Stoops down and 
kisses the children] Oh, my sweet darlings! Do you 
see them, Christina? Aren't they lovely? 

RANK. 

Don't let us stand here chattering in the draught. 



66 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT I 

HELMEK. 

Come, Mrs. Linden; only mothers can stand such a 
temperature. 

[Dn. RANK, HELMEB, and MRS. LINDEN go down 
the stairs; ANNA enters the room with the children; 
NORA also, shutting the door. 

NORA. 

How fresh and bright you look! And what red cheeks 
you've got! Like apples and roses. [The children chatter 
to her during what follows.] Have you had great fun ? 
That's splendid! Oh, really! You've been giving Emmy 
and Bob a ride on your sledge! both at once, only 
think! Why, you're quite a man, Ivar. Oh, give her 
to me a little, Anna. My sweet little dolly! [Takes the 
smallest from the nurse and dances with her.] Yes, yes; 
mother will dance with Bob too. What! Did you have 
a game of snowballs? Oh, I wish I'd been there. No; 
leave them, Anna; I'll take their things off. Oh, yes, let 
me do it; it's such fun. Go to the nursery; you look 
frozen. You'll find some hot coffee on the stove. 

[The NURSE goes into the room on the left. NORA 
takes off the children's things and throws them 
down anywhere, while the children talk all together. 
Really! A big dog ran after you? But he didn't 
bite you? No; dogs don't bite dear little dolly chil- 
dren. Don't peep into those parcels, Ivar. What is it ? 
Wouldn't you like to know? Take care it'll bite! 
What? Shall we have a game? What shall we play 
at? Hide-and-seek? Yes, let's play hide-and-seek. 
Bob shall hide first. Am I to ? Yes, let me hide first. 
[She and the children play, with laughter and shout- 
ing, in the room and the adjacent one to the right. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 67 

At last NORA hides under the table; the children 
come rushing in, look for her, but cannot find her, 
hear her half-choked laughter, rush to the table, lift 
up the cover and see her. Loud shouts. She creeps 
out, as tJwugh to frighten them. Fresh shouts. 
Meanwhile there has been a knock at the door 
leading into the hall. No one has heard it. Now 
the door is half opened and KROGSTAD appears. 
He waits a little ; the game is renewed. 

KROGSTAD. 
I beg your pardon, Mrs. Helmer 



NORA. 

[With a suppressed cry, turns round and half jumps 
up.] Ah! What do you want? 

KROGSTAD. 

Excuse me; the outer door was ajar somebody must 
have forgotten to shut it 

NORA. 

[Standing up.] My husband is not at home, Mr. 
Krogstad. 

KROGSTAD. 
I know it. 

NORA. 
Then what do you want here ? 

KROGSTAD. 
To say a few words to you. 



68 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT I 

NORA. 

To me? [To the children, softly.] Go in to Anna. 
What? No, the strange man won't hurt mamma. 
When he's gone we'll go on playing. [She leads the 
children into the left-hand room, and shuts the door 
behind them. Uneasy, in suspense.] It is to me you 
wish to speak? 

KROGSTAD. 
Yes, to you. 

NORA. 
To-day ? But it's not the first yet 

KROGSTAD. 

No, to-day is Christmas Eve. It will depend upon 
yourself whether you have a merry Christmas. 

NORA. 
What do you want ? I'm not ready to-day 

KROGSTAD. 

Never mind that just now. I have come about 
another matter. You have a minute to spare? 

NORA. 
Oh, yes, I suppose so; although 

KROGSTAD. 

Good. I was sitting in the restaurant opposite, and 
I saw your husband go down the street 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 69 

NORA. 
Well? 

KBOGSTAD. 
with a lady. 

NORA. 
What then? 

KROGSTAD. 
May I ask if the lady was a Mrs. Linden ? 

NORA. 
Yes. 

KROGSTAD. 
Who has just come to town ? 

NORA. 
Yes. To-day. 

KROGSTAD. 
I believe she is an intimate friend of yours. 

NORA. 
Certainly. But I don't understand 

KROGSTAD. 
I used to know her too. 

NORA. 
I know you did. 

KHOGSTAD. 

Ah! You know all about it. I thought as much. 
Now, frankly, is Mrs. Linden to have a place in the 
Bank? 



70 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

NORA. 

How dare you catechise me in this way, Mr. Krog- 
stad you, a subordinate of my husband's? But since 
you ask, you shall know. Yes, Mrs. Linden is to be 
employed. And it is I who recommended her, Mr. 
Krogstad. Now you know. 

KROGSTAD. 
Then my guess was right. 

NORA. 

[Walking up and down.] You see one has a wee bit 
of influence, after all. It doesn't follow because one's 

only a woman When people are in a subordinate 

position, Mr. Krogstad, they ought really to be careful 
how they offend anybody who h'm 

KROGSTAD. 
who has influence? 

NORA. 
Exactly. 

KROGSTAD. 

[Taking another tone,] Mrs. Helmer, will you have 
the kindness to employ your influence on my behalf? 

NORA. 
What? How do you mean? 

KROGSTAD. 

Will you be so good as to see that I retain my sub- 
ordinate position in the Bank? 



ACT ij A DOLL'S HOUSE 71 

NORA. 
What do you mean ? Who wants to take it from you ? 

KROGSTAD. 

Oh, you needn't pretend ignorance. I can very well 
understand that it cannot be pleasant for your friend 
to meet me; and I can also understand now for whose 
sake I am to be hounded out. 

NORA. 
But I assure you 

KROGSTAD. 

Come come now, once for all: there is time yet, and 
I advise you to use your influence to prevent it. 

NORA. 

But, Mr. Krogstad, I have no influence absolutely 
none. 

KROGSTAD. 
None ? I thought you said a moment ago 

NORA. 

Of course not in that sense. I! How can you imag^- 
ine that I should have any such influence over my hus- 
band? 

KROGSTAD. 

Oh, I know your husband from our college days. 
I don't think he is any more inflexible than other bus- 
bands. 



72 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

NORA. 

If you talk disrespectfully of my husband, I must 
request you to leave the house. 

KBOGSTAD. 
You are bold, madam. 

NORA. 

I am afraid of you no longer. When New Year's 
Day is over, I shall soon be out of the whole business. 

KROGSTAD. 

[Controlling himself.] Listen to me, Mrs. Helmer. If 
need be, I shall fight as though for my life to keep my 
little place in the Bank. 

NORA. 
Yes, so it seems. 

KROGSTAD. 

It's not only for the salary: that is what I care least 

about. It's something else Well, I had better make 

a clean breast of it. Of course you know, like every one 
else, that some years ago I got into trouble. 

NORA. 
I think I've heard something of the sort. 

KROGSTAD. 

The matter never came into court; but from that 
moment all paths were barred to me. Then I took up 
the business you know about. I had to turn my hand 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 73 

to something; and I don't think I've been one of the 
worst. But now I must get clear of it all. My sons 
are growing up; for their sake I must try to recover 
my character as well as I can. This place in the Bank 
was the first step; and now your husband wants to kick 
me off the ladder, back into the mire. 

NORA. 

But I assure you, Mr. Krogstad, I haven't the least 
power to help you. 

KROGSTAD. 

That is because you have not the will; but I can 
compel you. 

NORA. 
You won't tell my husband that I owe you money ? 

KROGSTAD. 
H'm; suppose I were to? 

NORA. 

It would be shameful of you. [With tears in her voice.] 
The secret that is my joy and my pride that he should 
learn it in such an ugly, coarse way and from you. 
It would involve me in all sorts of unpleasantness 

KROGSTAD. 
Only unpleasantness ? 

NORA. 

[Hotly.] But just do it. It's you that will come off 
worst, for then my husband will see what a bad man 
you are, and then you certainly won't keep your place. 



74 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

KROGSTAD. 

I asked whether it was only domestic unpleasantness 
you feared? 

NORA. 

If my husband gets to know about it, he will of course 
pay you off at once, and then we shall have nothing more 
to do with you. 

KROGSTAD. 

[Coming a pace nearer.] Listen, Mrs. Helmer: either 
your memory is defective, or you don't know much about 
business. I must make the position a little clearer to 
you. 

NORA. 
How so? 

KROGSTAD. 

When your husband was ill, you came to me to bor- 
row twelve hundred dollars. 

NORA. 
I knew of nobody else. 

KROGSTAD. 
I promised to find you the money 

NORA. 
And you did find it. 

KROGSTAD. 

1 promised to find you the money, on certain con- 
ditions. You were so much taken up at the time about 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 75 

your husband's illness, and so eager to have the where- 
withal for your journey, that you probably did not give 
much thought to the details. Allow me to remind you 
of them. I promised to find you the amount in exchange 
for a note of hand, which I drew up. 

NORA. 
Yes, and I signed it. 

KROGSTAD. 

Quite right. But then I added a few lines, making 
your father security for the debt. Your father was to 
sign this. 

NORA. 
Was to ? He did sign it! 

KROGSTAD. 

I had left the date blank. That is to say, your father 
was himself to date his signature. Do you recollect that ? 

NORA. 
Yes, I believe 

KROGSTAD. 

Then I gave you the paper to send to your father, by 
post. Is not that so? 

NORA. 
Yes. 

KROGSTAD. 

And of course you did so at once; for within five or 
six days you brought me back the document with your 
father's signature; and I handed you the money. 



76 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

NORA. 
Well ? Have I not made my payments punctually ? 

KROGSTAD. 

Fairly yes. But to return to the point: You were in 
great trouble at the time, Mrs. Helmer. 

NORA. 
I was indeed! 

KROGSTAD. 
Your father was very ill, I believe? 

NORA. 
He was on his death-bed. 

KROGSTAD. 
And died soon after? 

NORA. 
; Yes. 

KROGSTAD. 

Tell me, Mrs. Helmer: do you happen to recollect the 
day of his death ? The day of the month, I mean ? 

NORA. 
Father died on the 29th of September. 

KROGSTAD. 

Quite correct. I have made inquiries. And here 
comes in the remarkable point [Produces a paper.] 
which I cannot explain. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 77 

NORA. 
What remarkable point ? I don't know 

KROGSTAD. 

The remarkable point, madam, that your father signed 
this paper three days after his death! 

NORA. 
What! I don't understand 



KROGSTAD. 

Your father died on the 29th of September. But look 
here : he has dated his signature October 2nd ! Is not that 
remarkable, Mrs. Helmer? [NORA is silent.] Can you 
explain it ? [NoRA continues silent.] It is noteworthy, 
too, that the words " October 2nd" and the year are not 
in your father's handwriting, but in one which I believe 
I know. Well, this may be explained; your father may 
have forgotten to date his signature, and somebody may 
have added the date at random, before the fact of your 
father's death was known. There is nothing wrong in 
that. Everything depends on the signature. Of course 
it is genuine, Mrs. Helmer ? It was really your father 
himself who wrote his name here ? 

NORA. 

[After a short silence, throws her head back and looks de- 
fiantly at him.] No, it was not. I wrote father's name. 

KROGSTAD. 

Ah! Are you aware, madam, that that is a danger- 
ous admission? 



78 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

NORA. 
How so ? You will soon get your money. 

KROGSTAD. 

May I ask you one more question ? Why did you not 
send the paper to your father ? 

NORA. 

It was impossible. Father was ill. If I had asked him 
for his signature, I should have had to tell him why I 
wanted the money; but he was so ill I really could not 
tell him that my husband's life was in danger. It was 
impossible. 

KROGSTAD. 

Then it would have been better to have given up your 
tour. 

NORA. 

No, I couldn't do that; my husband's life depended on 
that journey. I couldn't give it up. 

KROGSTAD. 

And did it never occur to you that you were playing 
me false? 

NORA. 

That was nothing to me. I didn't care in the least 
about you. I couldn't endure you for all the cruel diffi- 
culties you made, although you knew how ill my hus- 
band was. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 79 

KROGSTAD. 

Mrs. Helmer, you evidently do not realise what you 
have been guilty of. But I can assure you it was noth- 
ing more and nothing worse that made me an outcast 
from society. 

NORA. 

You! You want me to believe that you did a brave 
thing to save your wife's life ? 

KROGSTAD. 
The law takes no account of motives. 

NORA. 
Then it must be a very bad law. 

KROGSTAD. 

Bad or not, if I produce this document in court, you 
will be condemned according to law. 

NORA. 

I don't believe that. Do you mean to tell me that a 
daughter has no right to spare her dying father trouble 
and anxiety ? that a wife has no right to save her hus- 
band's life? I don't know much about the law, but 
I'm sure you'll find, somewhere or another, that that is 
allowed. And you don't know that you, a lawyer! 
You must be a bad one, Mr. Krogstad. 

KROGSTAD. 

Possibly. But business such business as ours I do 
understand. You believe that? Very well; now do as 



80 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

you please. But this I may tell you, that if I am flung 
into the gutter a second time, you shall keep me com- 
pany. [Bows and goes out through hall. 

NORA. 

[Stands a while thinking, then tosses her head.] Oh 
nonsense! He wants to frighten me. I'm not so foolish 
as that. [Begins folding the children's clothes. Pauses.] 
But ? No, it's impossible! Why, I did it for love! 

CHILDREN. 

[At the door, left.] Mamma, the strange man has gone 
now. 

NORA. 

Yes, yes, I know. But don't tell any one about the 
strange man. Do you hear? Not even papa! 

CHILDREN. 
No, mamma; and now will you play with us again? 

NORA. 
No, no; not now. 

CHILDREN. 
Oh, do, mamma; you know you promised. 

NORA. 

Yes, but I can't just now. Run to the nursery; I have 
so much to do. Run along, run along, and be good, 
my darlings! [She pushes them gently into the inner 
room, and closes the door behind them. Sits on the sofa, 
embroiders a few stitches, but soon pauses] No! [Throws 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 81 

down the work, rises, goes to the hall door and calls out.] 
Ellen, bring in the Christmas-tree! [Goes to table, left, 
and opens the drawer; again pauses.] No, it's quite im- 
possible ! 

ELLEN. 
[With Christmas-tree.] Where shall I stand it, ma'am ? 

NORA. 
There, in the middle of the room. 

ELLEN. 
Shall I bring in anything else? 

NORA. 

No, thank you, I have all I want. 

[ELLEN, having put down the tree, goes out. 

NORA. 

[Busy dressing the tree.] There must be a candle here 
and flowers there. That horrible man! Nonsense, 
nonsense! there's nothing to be afraid of. The Christ- 
mas-tree shall be beautiful. I'll do everything to please 
you, Torvald; I'll sing and dance, and 

Enter HELMER by tiie hatt door, with a bundle of 
documents. 

NORA. 
Oh! You're back already ? 

HELMER. 
Yes. Has anybody been here? 



82 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

NORA. 
Here ? No. 

HELMEB. 
That's odd. I saw Krogstad come out of the house. 

NORA. 

Did you? Oh, yes, by-the-bye, he was here for a 
minute. 

HELMER. 

Nora, I can see by your manner that he has been beg- 
ging you to put in a good word for him. 

NORA. 
Yes. 

HELMER. 

And you were to do it as if of your own accord? 
You were to say nothing to me of his having been here. 
Didn't he suggest that too? 

NORA. 
Yes, Torvald; but 

HELMER. 

Nora, Nora! And you could condescend to that! To 
speak to such a man, to make him a promise! And then 
to tell me an untruth about it! 

NORA. 
An untruth! 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 83 

HELMEB. 

Didn't you say that nobody had been here ? [Threatens 
with his finger.] My little bird must never do that again ! 
A song-bird must sing clear and true; no false notes. 
[Puts his arm round her.] That's so, isn't it ? Yes, I 
was sure of it. [Lets her go.] And now we'll say no 
more about it. [Sits down before the fire.] Oh, how 
cosy and quiet it is here! [Glances into his documents. 

NORA. 
[Busy with the tree, after a short silence.] Torvald! 

HELMEB. 
Yes. 

NORA. 

I'm looking forward so much to the Stenborgs* fancy 
ball the day after to-morrow. 

HELMER. 

And I'm on tenterhooks to see what surprise you have 
in store for me. 

NORA. 
Oh, it's too tiresome! 

HELMEB. 
What is? 

NORA. 

I can't think of anything good. Everything seems so 
foolish and meaningless. 



84 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

HELMER. 
Has little Nora made that discovery? 

NORA. 

[Behind his chair, with her arms on the back.} Are you 
very busy, Torvald ? 

HELMER. 
Well 

NORA. 
What papers are those ? 

HELMER. 
Bank business. 

NORA. 
Already! 

HELMER. 

I have got the retiring manager to let me make some 
necessary changes in the staff and the organization. I 
can do this during Christmas week. I want to have 
everything straight by the New Year. 

NORA. 
Then that's why that poor Krogstad 

HELMER. 
H'm. 

NORA. 

[Still leaning over the chair-back and slowly stroking 
his hair.} If you hadn't been so very busy, I should 
have asked you a great, great favour, Torvald. 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 85 

HELMER. 
What can it be ? Out with it 

NORA. 

Nobody has such perfect taste as you; and I should 
so love to look well at the fancy ball. Torvald, dear, 
couldn't you take me in hand, and settle what I'm to 
be, and arrange my costume for me? 

HELMER. 

Aha! So my wilful little woman is at a loss, and 
making signals of distress. 

NORA. 

Yes, please, Torvald. I can't get on without your 
help. 

HELMER. 

Well, well, I'll think it over, and we'll soon hit upon 
something. 

NORA. 

Oh, how good that is of you! [Goes to the tree again; 
pause.] How well the red flowers show. Tell me, was it 
anything so very dreadful this Krogstad got into trouble 
about ? 

HELMER. 
Forgery, that's all. Don't you know what that means ? 

NORA. 
Mayn't he have been driven to it by need ? 



86 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

HELMER. 

Yes; or, like so many others, he may have done it in 
pure heedlessness. I am not so hard-hearted as to con- 
demn a man absolutely for a single fault. 

NORA. 
No, surely not, Torvald! 

HELMER. 

Many a man can retrieve his character, if he owns his 
crime and takes the punishment. 

NORA. 
Punishment ? 

HELMER. 

But Krogstad didn't do that. He evaded the law by 
means of tricks and subterfuges; and that is what has 
morally ruined him. 

NORA. 
Do you think that ? 

HELMER. 

Just think how a man with a thing of that sort on his 
conscience must be always lying and canting and sham- 
ming. Think of the mask he must wear even towards 
those who stand nearest him towards his own wife 
and children. The effect on the children that's the 
most terrible part of it, Nora. 

NORA. 
Why? 



ACT i] A DOLL'S HOUSE 87 

HELMER, 

Because in such an atmosphere of lies home life is 
poisoned and contaminated in every fibre. Every breath 
the children draw contains some germ of evil. 

NORA. 
[Closer behind him.] Are you sure of that ? 

HELMER. 

As a lawyer, my dear, I have seen it often enough. 
Nearly all cases of early corruption may be traced to 
lying mothers. 

NORA. 
Why mothers ? 

HELMER. 

It generally comes from the mother's side; but of 
course the father's influence may act in the same way. 
Every lawyer knows it too well. And here has this 
Krogstad been poisoning his own children for years 
past by a life of lies and hypocrisy that is why I call 
him morally ruined. [Holds out both hands to her.] So 
my sweet little Nora must promise not to plead his cause. 
Shake hands upon it. Come, come, what's this ? Give 
me your hand. That's right. Then it's a bargain. I 
assure you it would have been impossible for me to work 
with him. It gives me a positive sense of physical dis- 
comfort to come in contact with such people. 

[NoRA draws her hand away, and moves to the other 
side of the Christmas-tree. 

NORA. 
How warm it is here. And I have so much to do. 



88 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT i 

HELMER. 

[Rises and gathers up his papers.] Yes, and I must 
try to get some of these papers looked through before 
dinner. And I shall think over your costume too. Per- 
haps I may even find something to hang in gilt paper 
on the Christmas-tree. [Lays his hand on her head.] My 
precious little song-bird! 

[He goes into his room and shuts the door. 

NORA. 

[Softly, after a pause.] It can't be. It's impossible. It 
must be impossible! 

ANNA. 

[At the door, left.] The little ones are begging so pret- 
tily to come to mamma. 

NORA. 

No, no, no; don't let them come to me! Keep them 
with you, Anna. 

ANNA. 
Very well, ma'am. [Shuts the door. 

NORA. 

[Pale with terror.] Corrupt my children! Poison my 
home! [Short pause. She throws back lier head.] It's 
not true! It can never, never be true! 



ACT SECOND 

The same room. In the corner, beside the piano, stands the 
Christmas-tree, stripped, and with the candles burnt 
out. NORA'S outdoor things lie on the sofa. 

NORA, alone, is walking about restlessly. At last she stops 
by the sofa, and takes up her cloak. 

NORA. 

[Dropping the cloak.] There's somebody coming! [Goes 
to the hall door and listens.] Nobody; of course nobody 
will come to-day, Christmas-day; nor to-morrow either. 

But perhaps [Opens the door and looks out.] No, 

nothing in the letter box; quite empty. [Comes forward.] 
Stuff and nonsense! Of course he won't really do any- 
thing. Such a thing couldn't happen. It's impossible! 
Why, I have three little children. 

ANNA enters from the left, with a large cardboard 
box. 

ANNA. 
I've found the box with the fancy dress at last. 

NORA. 
Thanks; put it down on the table. 

ANNA. 

[Does so.] But I'm afraid it's very much out of order. 

89 



90 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 

Oh, I wish I could tear it into a hundred thousand 
pieces! 

ANNA. 

Oh, no. It can easily be put to rights just a little 
patience. 

NORA. 
I shall go and get Mrs. Linden to help me. / 

ANNA. 

Going out again? In such weather as this! You'll 
catch cold, ma'am, and be ill. 

NORA. 

Worse things might happen. What are the children 
doing ? 

ANNA. 

They're playing with their Christmas presents, poor 
little dears; but 

NORA. 
Do they often ask for me? 

ANNA. 

You see they've been so used to having their mamma 
with them. 

NORA. 

Yes; but, Anna, I can't have them so much with me 
in future. 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 91 

ANNA. 
Well, little children get used to anything. 

NORA. 

Do you think they do? Do you believe they would 
forget their mother if she went quite away? 

ANNA. 
Gracious me! Quite away? 

NORA. 

Tell me, Anna I've so often wondered about it 
how could you bring yourself to give your child up to 
strangers ? 

ANNA. 
I had to when I came to nurse my little Miss Nora. 

NORA. 
But how could you make up your mind to it? 

ANNA. 

When I had the chance of such a good place ? A poor 
girl who's been in trouble must take what comes. That 
wicked man did nothing for me. 

NORA. 
But your daughter must have forgotten you. 

ANNA. 

Oh, no, ma'am, that she hasn't. She wrote to me both 
when she was confirmed and when she was married. 



92 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 

[Embracing her.] Dear old Anna you were a good 
mother to me when I was little. 

... ANNA. 

My poor little Nora had no mother but me. 

NORA. 

And if my little ones had nobody else, I'm sure you 

would Nonsense, nonsense! [Opens the box.] Go 

in to the children. Now I must You'll see how 

lovely I shall be to-morrow. 

ANNA. 

I'm sure there will be no one at the ball so lovely as 
my Miss Nora. [She goes into the room on the left. 

NORA. 

[Takes the costume out of the box, but soon throws it 
down again.] Oh, if I dared go out. If only nobody 
would come. If only nothing would happen here in the 
meantime. Rubbish; nobody is coming. Only not to 
think. What a delicious muff! Beautiful gloves, beau- 
tiful gloves! To forget to forget! One, two, three, 

four, five, six [With a scream.] Ah, there they 

come. [Goes towards the door, then stands irresolute. 

MRS. LINDEN enters from the hall, where she has 
taken off Jier things. 

NORA. 

Oh, it's you, Christina. There's nobody else there? 
I'm so glad you have come. 




Fru Hennings as Nora in "A Doll's House " 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 93 

MBS. LINDEN. 
I hear you called at my lodgings. 

NORA. 

Yes, I was just passing. There's something you 
must help me with. Let us sit here on the sofa so. 
To-morrow evening there's to be a fancy ball at Consul 
Stenborg's overhead, and Torvald wants me to appear 
as a Neapolitan fisher-girl, and dance the tarantella; I 
learned it at Capri. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
I see quite a performance. 

NORA. 

Yes, Torvald wishes it. Look, this is the costume; 
Torvald had it made for me in Italy. But now it's all 
so torn, I don't know 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Oh, we shall soon set that to rights. It's only the 
trimming that has come loose here and there. Have 
you a needle and thread ? Ah, here's the very thing. 

NORA. 
Oh, how kind of you. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Sewing.] So you're to be in costume to-morrow, 
Nora ? I'll tell you what I shall come in for a moment 
to see you in all your glory. But I've quite forgotten to 
thank you for the pleasant evening yesterday. 



94 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 

[Rises and walks across the room.] Oh, yesterday, it 
didn't seem so pleasant as usual. You should have 
come to town a little sooner, Christina. Torvald has 
certainly the art of making home bright and beautiful. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

You too, I should think, or you wouldn't be your 
father's daughter. But tell me is Doctor Rank always 
so depressed as he was last evening? 

NORA. 

No, yesterday it was particularly noticeable. You see, 
he suffers from a dreadful illness. He has spinal con- 
sumption, poor fellow. They say his father was a horri- 
ble man, who kept mistresses and all sorts of things 
so the son has been sickly from his childhood, you under- 
stand. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

\Lets her sewing fall into her lap.] Why, my darling 
Nora, how do you come to know such things ? 

NORA. 

[Moving about the room.] Oh, when one has three chil- 
dren, one sometimes has visits from women who are half 
half doctors and they talk of one thing and another. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Goes on sewing; a short pause.] Does Doctor Rank 
come here every day ? 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 95 

NORA. 

Every day of his life. He has been Torvald's most 
intimate friend from boyhood, and he's a good friend 
of mine too. Doctor Rank is quite one of the family. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

But tell me is he quite sincere? I mean, isn't he 
rather given to flattering people? 

NORA. 
No, quite the contrary. Why should you think so ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

When you introduced us yesterday he said he had often 
heard my name; but I noticed afterwards that your 
husband had no notion who I was. How could Doctor 
Rank ? 

NORA. 

He was quite right, Christina. You see, Torvald loves 
me so indescribably, he wants to have me all to him- 
self, as he says. When we were first married he was 
almost jealous if I even mentioned any of my old friends 
at home; so naturally I gave up doing it. But I often 
talk of the old times to Doctor Rank, for he likes to 
hear about them. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Listen to me, Nora! You are still a child in many 
ways. I am older than you, and have had more experi- 
ence. I'll tell you something? You ought to get clear 
of all this with Dr. Rank. 



96 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 
Get clear of what ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

The whole affair, I should say. You were talking yes- 
terday of a rich admirer who was to find you money 

NORA. 
Yes, one who never existed, worse luck. What then ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Has Doctor Rank money ? 

NORA. 
Yes, he has. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
And nobody to provide for? 

NORA. 
Nobody. But ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
And he comes here every day ? 

NORA. 
Yes, I told you so. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
I should have thought he would have had better taste. 

NORA. 
I don't understand you a bit. 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 97 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Don't pretend, Nora. Do you suppose I can't guess 
who lent you the twelve hundred dollars ? 

NORA. 

Are you out of your senses ? How can you think such 
a thing? A friend who comes here every day! Why, 
the position would be unbearable! 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Then it really is not he ? 

NORA. 

No, I assure you. It never for a moment occurred 

to me Besides, at that time he had nothing to lend; 

he came into his property afterwards. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Well, I believe that was lucky for you, Nora dear. 

NORA. 

No, really, it would never have struck me to ask 
Dr. Rank And yet, I'm certain that if I did 

MRS. LINDEN. 
But of course you never would. 

NORA. 

Of course not. It's inconceivable that it should ever 
be necessary. But I'm quite sure that if I spoke to 
Doctor Rank 



98 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Behind your husband's back? 

NORA. 

I must get clear of the other thing; that's behind his 
back too. I must get clear of that. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes, yes, I told you so yesterday; but 

NORA. 

[Walking up and down.] A man can manage these 
things much better than a woman. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
One's own husband, yes. 

NORA. 

Nonsense. [Stands still.] When everything is paid, 
one gets back the paper. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Of course. 

NORA. 

And can tear it into a hundred thousand pieces, and 
burn it up, the nasty, filthy thing! 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Looks at her fixedly, lays down her work, and rises 
slowly.] Nora, you are hiding something from me. 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 99 

NORA. 
Can you see it in my face? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Something has happened since yesterday morning. 
Nora, what is it? 

NORA. 

[Going towards her.] Christina ! [Listens.] Hush! 

There's Torvald coming home. Do you mind going into 
the nursery for the present? Torvald can't bear to see 
dressmaking going on. Get Anna to help you. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Gathers some of the things together.] Very well ; but 
I shan't go away until you have told me all about it. 
[She goes out to the left, as HELMER enters from the 
hall. 

NORA. 

[Runs to meet him.] Oh, how I've been longing for 
you to come, Torvald dear! 

HELMER. 
Was that the dressmaker ? 

NORA. 

No, Christina. She's helping me with my costume. 
You'll see how nice I shall look. 

HELMER. 
Yes, wasn't that a happy thought of mine? 



100 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 

Splendid! But isn't it good of me, too, to have given 
in to you about the tarantella? 

HELMER. 

[Takes her under the chin.] Good of you! To give in 
to your own husband ? Well well, you little madcap, I 
know you don't mean it. But I won't disturb you. I 
daresay you want to be " trying on." 

NORA. 
And you are going to work, I suppose? 

HELMER. 

Yes. [Shows her a bundle of papers.] Look here. 

I've just come from the Bank 

[Goes towards his room. 

NORA. 
Torvald. 

HELMER. 
[Stopping.] Yes ? 

NORA. 

If your little squirrel were to beg you for something 
so prettily 

HELMER. 
Well? 

NORA. 
Would you do it? 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 101 

HELMER. 
I must know first what it is. 

NORA. 

The squirrel would skip about and play all sorts of 
tricks if you would only be nice and kind. 

HELMER. 
Come, then, out with it. 

NORA. 
Your lark would twitter from morning till night 

HELMER. 
Oh, that she does in any case. 

NORA. 

I'll be an elf and dance in the moonlight for you, 
Torvald. 

HELMER. 

Nora you can't mean what you were hinting at this 
morning ? 

NORA. 
[Coming nearer.] Yes, Torvald, I beg and implore you! 

HELMER. 
Have you really the courage to begin that again ? 



102 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 

Yes, yes; for my sake, you must let Krogstad keep 
his place in the Bank. 

HELMEB. 
My dear Nora, it's his place I intend for Mrs. Linden. 

NORA. 

Yes, that's so good of you. But instead of Krogstad, 
you could dismiss some other clerk. 

HELMER. 

Why, this is incredible obstinacy! Because you have 
thoughtlessly promised to put in a word for him, I am 
to ! 

NORA. 

It's not that, Torvald. It's for your own sake. This 
man writes for the most scurrilous newspapers ; you said 
so yourself. He can do you no end of harm. I'm so 
terribly afraid of him 

HELMER. 

Ah, I understand; it's old recollections that are fright- 
ening you. 

NORA. 
What do you mean ? 

HELMER. 
Of course you're thinking of your father. 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 103 

NORA. 

Yes yes, of course. Only think of the shameful 
slanders wicked people used to write about father. I 
believe they would have got him dismissed if you hadn't 
been sent to look into the thing, and been kind to him, 
and helped him. 

HELMER. 

My little Nora, between your father and me there is 
all the difference in the world. Your father was not 
altogether unimpeachable. I am; and I hope to remain 
so. 

NORA. 

Oh, no one knows what wicked men may hit upon. 
We could live so quietly and happily now, in our cosy, 
peaceful home, you and I and the children, Torvaldl 
That's why I beg and implore you 

HELMER. 

And it is just by pleading his cause that you make 
it impossible for me to keep him. It's already known 
at the Bank that I intend to dismiss Krogstad. If it 
were now reported that the new manager let himself 
be turned round his wife's little finger 

NORA. 
What then ? 

HELMER. 

Oh, nothing, so long as a wilful woman can have her 

way ! I am to make myself a laughing-stock to 

the whole staff, and set people saying that I am open 



104 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

to all sorts of outside influence? Take my word for 
it, I should soon feel the consequences. And besides 
there is one thing that makes Krogstad impossible for 
me to work with 

NORA. 
What thing? 

HELMER. 

I could perhaps have overlooked his moral failings at 
a pinch 

NORA. 
Yes, couldn't you, Torvald? 

HELMER. 

And I hear he is good at his work. But the fact is, 
he was a college chum of mine there was one of those 
rash friendships between us that one so often repents 
of later. I may as well confess it at once he calls me 
by my Christian name; 1 and he is tactless enough to do 
it even when others are present. He delights in putting 
on airs of familiarity Torvald here, Torvald there! I 
assure you it's most painful to me. He would make my 
position at the Bank perfectly unendurable. 

NORA. 
Torvald, surely you're not serious? 

HELMER. 
No ? Why not ? 

NORA. 
That's such a petty reason. 

1 In the original, "We say 'thou' to each other." 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 105 

HELMER. 
What! Petty! Do you consider me petty! 

NORA. 

No, on the contrary, Torvald dear; and that's just 
why 

HELMER. 

Never mind; you call my motives petty; then I must 
be petty too. Petty! Very well! Now we'll put an end 
to this, once for all. [Goes to the door into the hall and 
calls.] Ellen! 

NORA. 
What do you want? 

HELMER. 

[Searching among his papers.] To settle the thing. 
[ELLEN enters.] Here; take this letter; give it to a mes- 
senger. See that he takes it at once. The address is on 
it. Here's the money. 

ELLEN. 
Very well, sir. [Goes with the letter. 

HELMER. 

[Putting his papers together.] There, Madam Obsti- 
nacy. 

NORA. 
[Breathless.] Torvald what was in the letter? 

HELMER. 
Krogstad's dismissal. 



106 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 

Call it back again, Torvald! There's still time. Oh, 
Torvald, call it back again! For my sake, for your own, 
for the children's sake! Do you hear, Torvald? Do it! 
You don't know what that letter may bring upon us all. 

HELMEB. 
Too late. 

NORA. 
Yes, too late. 

HELMER. 

My dear Nora, I forgive your anxiety, though it's 
anything but flattering to me. Why should you sup- 
pose that 7 would be afraid of a wretched scribbler's 
spite? But I forgive you all the same, for it's a proof 
of your great love for me. [Takes her in his arms.] 
That's as it should be, my own dear Nora. Let what 
will happen when it comes to the pinch, I shall have 
strength and courage enough. You shall see: my shoul- 
ders are broad enough to bear the whole burden. 

NORA. 
[Terror-struck.] What do you mean by that? 

HELMER. 
The whole burden, I say 

NORA. 
[With decision.] That you shall never, never do! 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 107 

HELMER. 

Very well; then we'll share it, Nora, as man and wife. 
That is how it should be. [Petting her.] Are you satis- 
fied now? Come, come, come, don't look like a scared 
dove. It's all nothing foolish fancies. Now you ought 
to play the tarantella through and practise with the tam- 
bourine. I shall sit in my inner room and shut both 
doors, so that I shall hear nothing. You can make 
as much noise as you please. [Turns round in door- 
way.] And when Rank comes, just tell him where I'm 
to be found. 

[He nods to her, and goes with his papers into his 
room, closing the door. 

NORA. 

[Bewildered with terror, stands as though rooted to the 
ground, and whispers.] He would do it. Yes, he would 
do it. He would do it, in spite of all the world. No, 
never that, never, never! Anything rather than that! 

Oh, for some way of escape! What shall I do ! 

[Hall bell rings.] Doctor Rank ! Anything, any- 
thing, rather than ! 

[NORA draws her hands over her face, pulls herself 
together, goes to the door and opens it. RANK 
stands outside hanging up his fur coat. During 
what follows it begins to grow dark. 

NORA. 

Good afternoon, Doctor Rank, I knew you by your 
ring. But you mustn't go to Torvald now. I believe he's 
busy. 

RANK. 

And you ? [Enters and closes the door. 



108 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 
Oh, you know very well, I have always time for you. 

RANK. 

Thank you. I shall avail myself of your kindness as 
long as I can. 

NORA. 
What do you mean ? As long as you can ? 

RANK. 
Yes. Does that frighten you ? 

NORA. 

I think it's an odd expression. Do you expect any- 
thing to happen ? 

RANK. 

Something I have long been prepared for; but I didn't 
think it would come so soon. 

NORA. 

[Catching at his arm.] What have you discovered? 
Doctor Rank, you must tell me! 

RANK. 

[Sitting down by the stove.] I am running down hill. 
There's no help for it. 

NORA. 
[Draws a long breath of relief.] It's y o u ? 



ACT n] A DOLL'S HOUSE 109 

RANK. 

Who else should it be ? Why lie to one's self ? I am 
the most wretched of all my patients, Mrs. Helmer. In 
these last days I have been auditing my life-account 
bankrupt! Perhaps before a month is over, I shall lie rot- 
ting in the church-yard. 

NORA. 
Oh! What an ugly way to talk. 

RANK. 

The thing itself is so confoundedly ugly, you see. But 
the worst of it is, so many other ugly things have to be 
gone through first. There is only one last investiga- 
tion to be made, and when that is over I shall know 
pretty certainly when the break-up will begin. There's 
one thing I want to say to you: Helmer's delicate nature 
shrinks so from all that is horrible: I will not have him 
in my sick-room 

NORA. 
But, Doctor Rank 



RANK. 

I won't have him, I say not on any account! I shall 
lock my door against him. As soon as I am quite cer- 
tain of the worst, I shall send you my visiting-card with 
a black cross on it; and then you will know that the 
final horror has begun. 

NORA. 

Why, you're perfectly unreasonable to-day; and I did 
so want you to be in a really good humour. 



110 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

RANK. 

With death staring me in the face? And to suffer 
thus for another's sin ! Where's the justice of it ? And 
in one way or another you can trace in every family 
some such inexorable retribution 

NORA. 

[Stopping her ears.] Nonsense, nonsense! Now cheer 
up! 

RANK. 

Well, after all, the whole thing's only worth laughing 
at. My poor innocent spine must do penance for my 
father's wild oats. 

NORA. 

[At table, left.] I suppose he was too fond of aspara- 
gus and Strasbourg pate, wasn't he ? 

RANK. 
Yes; and truffles. 

NORA. 
Yes, truffles, to be sure. And oysters, I believe ? 

RANK. 
Yes, oysters; oysters, of course. 

NORA. 

And then all the port and champagne! It's sad that 
all these good things should attack the spine. 



ACT n] A DOLL'S HOUSE 111 

RANK. 

Especially when the luckless spine attacked never had 
any good of them. 

NORA. 
Ah, yes, that's the worst of it. 

RANK. 

[Looks at her searchingly.] H'm 

NORA. 
[A moment later.] Why did you smile ? 

RANK. 

No; it was you that laughed. 

NORA. 
No; it was you that smiled, Doctor Rank. 

RANK. 
[Standing up.] I see you're deeper than I thought. 

NORA. 
I'm in such a crazy mood to-day. 

RANK. 

So it seems. 

NORA. 

[With her hands on his shoulders.] Dear, dear Doctor 
Rank, death shall not take you away from Torvald and 
me. 



112 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

RANK. 

Oh, you'll easily get over the loss. The absent are 
soon forgotten. 

NORA. 
[Looks at him anxiously.] Do you think so ? 

RANK. 
People make fresh ties, and then 

NORA. 
Who make fresh ties ? 

RANK. 

You and Helmer will, when I am gone. You your- 
self are taking time by the forelock, it seems to me. 
What was that Mrs. Linden doing here yesterday? 

NORA. 
Oh! you're surely not jealous of poor Christina? 

RANK. 

Yes, I am. She will be my successor in this house. 
When I am out of the way, this woman will perhaps 

NORA. 
Hush! Not so loud! She's in there. 

RANK. 

To-day as well? You see! 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 113 

NORA. 

Only to put my costume in order dear me, how un- 
reasonable you are! [Sits on sofa.] Now do be good, 
Doctor Rank! To-morrow you shall see how beauti- 
fully I shall dance; and then you may fancy that I'm 
doing it all to please you and of course Torvald as 
well. [Takes various things out of box.] Doctor Rank, 
sit down here, and I'll show you something. 

RANK. 
[Sitting.] What is it? 

NORA. 
Look here. Look! 

RANK. 

Silk stockings. 

NORA. 

Flesh-coloured. Aren't they lovely? It's so dark 

here now; but to-morrow No, no, no; you must 

only look at the feet. Oh, well, I suppose you may look 
at the rest too. 

RANK. 
H'm 

NORA. 

What are you looking so critical about? Do you 
think they won't fit me ? 

RANK. 

I can't possibly give any competent opinion on that 
point. 



114 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 

[Looking at him a moment.] For shame! [Hits him 
lightly on the ear with the stockings.] Take that. 

[Rolls them up again. 

RANK. 

And what other wonders am I to see ? 

NORA. 

You sha'n't see anything more; for you don't behave 
nicely. [She hums a little and searches among the things. 

RANK. 

[After a short silence.] When I sit here gossiping with 
you, I can't imagine I simply cannot conceive what 
would have become of me if I had never entered this 
house. 

NORA. 
[Smiling.] Yes, I think you do feel at home with us. 

RANK. 

[More softly looking straight before him.] And now 
to have to leave it all 

NORA. 
Nonsense. You sha'n't leave us. 

RANK. 

[In the same tone.] And not to be able to leave be- 
hind the slightest token of gratitude; scarcely even a 
passing regret nothing but an empty place, that can 
be filled by the first comer. 



ACT n] A DOLL'S HOUSE 115 

NORA. 
And if I were to ask you for ? No 

RANK. 

For what ? 

NORA. 
For a great proof of your friendship. 

RANK. 

Yes yes ? 

NORA. 
I mean for a very, very great service 



RANK. 
Would you really, for once, make me so happy ? 

NORA. 
Oh, you don't know what it is. 

RANK. 
Then tell me. 

NORA. 

No, I really can't, Doctor Rank. It's far, far too much 
not only a service, but help and advice besides 

RANK. 

So much the better. I can't think what you can mean. 
But go on. Don't you trust me ? 



116 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 

As I trust no one else. I know you are my best and 
truest friend. So I will tell you. Well then, Doctor 
Rank, there is something you must help me to prevent. 
You know how deeply, how wonderfully Torvald loves 
me; he wouldn't hesitate a moment to give his very life 
for my sake. 

RANK. 

[Bending towards her.] Nora do you think he is the 
only one who ? 

. NORA. 
[With a slight start.] Who ? 

RANK. 

Who would gladly give his life for you ? 

NORA. 
[Sadly.] Oh! 

RANK. 

I have sworn that you shall know it before I go. 
I shall never find a better opportunity. Yes, Nora, now 
I have told you; and now you know that you can trust 
me as you can no one else. 

NORA. 
[Standing up; simply and calmly.] Let me pass, please. 

RANK. 

[Makes way for her, but remains sitting.] JJora 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 117 

NORA. 

[In the doorway.] Ellen, bring the lamp. [Crosses to 
the stove.] Oh dear, Doctor Rank, that was too bad of 
you. 

RANK. 

[Rising.] That I have loved you as deeply as any 
one else ? Was that too bad of me ? 

NORA. 

No, but that you should have told me so. It was so 
unnecessary 

RANK. 

What do you mean? Did you know ? 

[ELLEN enters with the lamp; sets it on the table and 
goes out again. 

RANK. 
Nora Mrs. Helmer I ask you, did you know? 

NORA. 

Oh, how can I tell what I knew or didn't know? 

I really can't say How could you be so clumsy, 

Doctor Rank? It was all so nice! 

RANK. 

Well, at any rate, you know now that I am at your 
service, body and soul. And now, go on. 

NORA. 
[Looking at him.] Go on now? 



118 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

RANK. 
I beg you to tell me what you want. 

NORA. 
I can tell you nothing now. 

RANK. 

Yes, yes! You mustn't punish me in that way. Let 
me do for you whatever a man can. 

NORA. 

You can do nothing for me now. Besides, I really 
want no help. You shall see it was only my fancy. 
Yes, it must be so. Of course! [Sits in the rocking- 
chair, looks at him and smiles.] You are a nice person, 
Doctor Rank! Aren't you ashamed of yourself, now 
that the lamp is on the table ? 

RANK. 

No; not exactly. But perhaps I ought to go for 
ever. 

NORA. 

No, indeed you mustn't. Of course you must come 
and go as you've always done. You know very well, 
that Torvald can't do without you. 

RANK. 
Yes, but you ? 

NORA. 
Oh, you know I always like to have you here. 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 119 

RANK. 

That is just what led me astray. You are a riddle to 
me. It has often seemed to me as if you liked being 
with me almost as much as being with Helmer. 

NORA. 

Yes; don't you see ? There are people one loves, and 
others one likes to talk to. 

RANK. 
Yes there's something in that. 

NORA. 

When I was a girl, of course I loved papa best. But 
it always delighted me to steal into the servants' room. 
In the first place they never lectured me, and in the sec- 
ond it was such fun to hear them talk. 

RANK. 
Ah, I see; then it's their place I have taken ? 

NORA. 

[Jumps up and hurries towards him.] Oh, my dear 
Doctor Rank, I don't mean that. But you understand, 
with Torvald it's the same as with papa 

ELLEN enters from the hall. 

ELLEN. 

Please, ma'am [Whispers to NORA, and gives her 

a card.] 



120 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 
[Glancing at card.] Ah! [Puts it in her pocket. 

RANK. 

Anything wrong? 

NORA. 

No, no, not in the least. It's only it's my new cos- 
tume 

RANK. 

Your costume! Why, it's there. 

NORA. 

Oh, that one, yes. But this is another that I have 
ordered it Torvald mustn't know 

RANK. 

Aha! So that's the great secret. 

NORA. 

Yes, of course. Please go to him; he's in the inner 
room. Do keep him while I 

RANK. 

Don't be alarmed; he sha'n't escape. 

[Goes into HELMER'S room. 

NORA. 
[To ELLEN.] Is he waiting in the kitchen? 

ELLEN. 
Yes, he came up the back stair 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 121 

NORA. 
Didn't you tell him I was engaged ? 

ELLEN. 
Yes, but it was no use. 

NORA. 
He won't go away ? 

ELLEN. 
No, ma'am, not until he has spoken to you. 

NORA. 

Then let him come in; but quietly. And, Ellen say 
nothing about it; it's a surprise for my husband. 

ELLEN. 
Oh, yes, ma'am, I understand. [She goes out. 

NORA. 

It is coming! The dreadful thing is coming, after all. 
No, no, no, it can never be; it shall not! 

[She goes to HELMER'S door and slips the bolt. 
ELLEN opens the hall door for KROGSTAD, and 
shuts it after him. He wears a travelling-coat , 
high boots, and a fur cap. 

NORA. 

[Goes towards him.] Speak softly; my husband is at 
home. 



122 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

KROGSTAD. 
All right. That's nothing to me. 

NORA. 
What do you want? 

KROGSTAD. 
A little information. 

NORA. 
Be quick, then. What is it? 

KROGSTAD. 
You know I have got my dismissal. 

NORA. 

I couldn't prevent it, Mr. Krogstad. I fought for you 
to the last, but it was of no use. 

KROGSTAD. 

Does your husband care for you so little ? He knows 
what I can bring upon you, and yet he dares 

NORA. 
How could you think I should tell him ? 

KROGSTAD. 

Well, as a matter of fact, I didn't think it. It wasn't 
like my friend Torvald Helmer to show so much cour- 
age 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 123 

NORA. 

Mr. Krogstad, be good enough to speak respectfully of 
my husband. 

KROGSTAD. 

Certainly, with all due respect. But since you are so 
anxious to keep the matter secret, I suppose you are 
a little clearer than yesterday as to what you have done. 

NORA. 
Clearer than you could ever make me. 

KROGSTAD. 
Yes, such a bad lawyer as I 



NORA. 
What is it you want? 

KROGSTAD. 

Only to see how you are getting on, Mrs. Helmer. 
I've been thinking about you all day. Even a mere 
money-lender, a gutter-journalist, a in short, a crea- 
ture like me has a little bit of what people call feeling. 

NORA. 
Then show it; think of my little children. 

KROGSTAD. 

Did you and your husband think of mine? But 
enough of that. I only wanted to tell you that you 
needn't take this matter too seriously. I shall not 
lodge any information, for the present. 



124 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 
No, surely not. I knew you wouldn't. 

KROGSTAD. 

The whole thing can be settled quite amicably. No- 
body need know. It can remain among us three. 

NORA. 
My husband must never know. 

KROGSTAD. 

How can you prevent it? Can you pay off the bal- 
ance? 

NORA. 
No, not at once. 

KROGSTAD. 

Or have you any means of raising the money in the 
next few days ? 

NORA. 
None that I will make use of. 

KROGSTAD. 

And if you had, it would not help you now. If you 
offered me ever so much money down, you should not 
get back your I.O.U. 

NORA. 
Tell me what you want to do with it. 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 125 

KROGSTAD. 

I only want to keep it to have it in my possession. 
No outsider shall hear anything of it. So, if you have 
any desperate scheme in your head 

NORA. 
What if I have? 

KROGSTAD. 

If you should think of leaving your husband and chil- 
dren 

NORA. 
What if I do? 

KROGSTAD. 
Or if you should think of something worse 

NORA. 
How do you know that ? 

KROGSTAD. 
Put all that out of your head. 

NORA. 
How did you know what I had in my mind ? 

KROGSTAD. 

Most of us think of that at first. I thought of it, 
too; but I hadn't the courage 

NORA. 
[Tonelessly.] Nor I. 



126 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

KROGSTAD. 

[Relieved.] No, one hasn't. You haven't the courage 
either, have you ? 

NORA. 
I haven't, I haven't. 

KROGSTAD. 

Besides, it would be very foolish. Just one domestic 
storm, and it's all over. I have a letter in my pocket 
for your husband 

NORA. 
Telling him everything? 

KROGSTAD. 
Sparing you as much as possible. 

NORA. 

\Quickly.] He must never read that letter. Tear it 
up. I will manage to get the money somehow 

KROGSTAD. 
Pardon me, Mrs. Helmer, but I believe I told you 

NORA. 

Oh, I'm not talking about the money I owe you. 
Tell me how much you demand from my husband 
I will get it. 

KROGSTAD. 
I demand no money from your husband. 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 127 

NORA. 
What do you demand then? 

KROGSTAD. 

I will tell you. I want to regain my footing in the 
world. I want to rise; and your husband shall help me 
lo do it. For the last eighteen months my record has 
been spotless; I have been in bitter need all the time; 
but I was content to fight my way up, step by step. 
Now, I've been thrust down again, and I will not be 
satisfied with merely being reinstated as a matter of 
grace. I want to rise, I tell you. I must get into the 
Bank again, in a higher position than before. Your 
husband shall create a place on purpose for me 

NORA. 
He will never do that! 

KROGSTAD. 

He will do it; I know him he won't dare to show 
fight! And when he and I are together there, you shall 
soon see! Before a year is out I shall be the manager's 
right hand. It won't be Torvald Helmer, but Nils Krog- 
stad, that manages the Joint Stock Bank. 

NORA. 
That shall never be. 

KROGSTAD. 
Perhaps you will ? 

NORA. 
N o w I have the courage for it. 



128 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

KROGSTAD. 

Oh, you don't frighten me! A sensitive, petted crea- 
ture like you 

NORA. 
You shall see, you shall see! 

KROGSTAD. 

Under the ice, perhaps? Down into the cold, black 
water? And next spring to come up again, ugly, hair- 
less, unrecognisable 

NORA. 
You can't terrify me. 

KROGSTAD. 

Nor you me. People don't do that sort of thing, Mrs. 
Helmer. And, after all, what would be the use of it? 
I have your husband in my pocket, all the same. 

NORA. 
Afterwards? When I am no longer ? 

KROGSTAD. 

You forget, your reputation remains in my hands! 
[NoRA stands speechless and looks at him.] Well, now 
you are prepared. Do nothing foolish. As soon as 
Helmer has received my letter, I shall expect to hear 
from him. And remember that it is your husband him- 
self who has forced me back again into such paths. 
That I will never forgive him. Good-bye, Mrs. Helmer. 
[Goes out through the hall. NORA hurries to the 
door, opens it a little, and listens. 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 129 

NORA. 

He's going. He's not putting the letter into the box. 
No, no, it would be impossible! [Opens the door further 
and further.] What's that. He's standing still; not going 

down stairs. Has he changed his mind? Is he ? 

[A letter falls into the box. KROGSTAD'S footsteps are 
heard gradually receding down the stair. NORA utters a 
suppressed shriek, and rushes forward towards the sofa- 
table; pause.] In the letter-box! [Slips shrinkingly up 
to the hall door.] There it lies. Torvald, Torvald 
now we are lost! 

MRS. LINDEN enters from the left with the costume. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

There, I think it's all right now. Shall we just try it 
on? 

NORA. 

[Hoarsely and softly.] Christina, come here. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Throws down the dress on the sofa.] What's the mat- 
ter? You look quite distracted. 

NORA. 

Come here. Do you see that letter? There, see 
through the glass of the letter-box. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes, yes, I see it. 

NORA. 
That letter is from Krogstad 



130 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Nora it was Krogstad who lent you the money ? 

NORA. 
Yes; and now Torvald will know everything. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Believe me, Nora, it's the best thing for both of you. 

NORA. 
You don't know all yet. I have forged a name 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Good heavens! 

NORA. 

Now, listen to me, Christina; you shall bear me wit- 
ness 

MRS. LINDEN. 
How "witness"? What am I to ? 

NORA. 

If I should go out of my mind it might easily hap- 
pen 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Nora! 

NORA. 

Or if anything else should happen to me so that I 
couldn't be here ! 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 131 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Nora, Nora, you're quite beside yourself! 

NORA. 

In case any one wanted to take it all upon himself 
the whole blame you understand 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes, yes; but how can you think ? 

NORA. 

You shall bear witness that it's not true, Christina. 
I'm not out of my mind at all ; I know quite well what 
I'm saying; and I tell you nobody else knew anything 
about it; I did the whole thing, I myself. Remember 
that. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

I shall remember. But I don't understand what you 
mean 

NORA. 
Oh, how should you ? It's the miracle coming to pass. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
The miracle? 

NORA. 

Yes, the miracle. But it's so terrible, Christina; it 
mustn't happen for all the world. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
I shall go straight to Krogstad and talk to him. 



A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT 11 

NORA. 
Don't; he'll do you some harm. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Once he would have done anything for me. 

NORA. 
He? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Where does he live? 

NORA. 

Oh, how can I tell ? Yes [Feels in her pocket.] 

Here's his card. But the letter, the letter ! 

HELMER. 
[Knocking outside.] Nora! 

NORA. 

[Shrieks in terror.] Oh, what is it? What do you 
want? 

HELMER. 

Well, well, don't be frightened. We're not coming in; 
you've bolted the door. Are you trying on your dress ? 

NORA. 

Yes, yes, I'm trying it on. It suits me so well, 
Torvald. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
[Who has read the card.] Why, he lives close by here. 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 133 

NORA. 

Yes, but it's no use now. We are lost. The letter 
is there in the box. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
And your husband has the key ? 

NORA. 
Always. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Krogstad must demand his letter back, unread. He 
must find some pretext 

NORA. 
But this is the very time when Torvald generally 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Prevent him. Keep him occupied. I shall come back 
as quickly as I can. 

[She goes out hastily by the hall door. 

NORA. 
[Opens HELMER'S door and peeps in.] Torvald! 

HELMER. 

Well, may one come into one's own room again at 
last ? Come, Rank, we'll have a look [In the door- 
way.] But how's this ? 

NORA. 
What, Torvald dear? 



134 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT 11 

HELMER. 
Rank led me to expect a grand transformation. 

RANK. 

[In the doorway.] So I understood. I suppose I was 
mistaken. 

NORA. 

No, no one shall see me in my glory till to-morrow 
evening. 

HELMER. 

Why, Nora dear, you look so tired. Have you been 
practising too hard? 

NORA. 
No, I haven't practised at all yet. 

HELMER. 

But you'll have to 

NORA. 

Oh yes, I must, I must! But, Torvald, I can't get 
on at all without your help. I've forgotten everything. 

HELMER. 
Oh, we shall soon freshen it up again. 

NORA. 

Yes, do help me, Torvald. You must promise 

me Oh, I'm so nervous about it. Before so many 

people This evening you must give yourself up 

entirely to me. You mustn't do a stroke of work; you 
mustn't even touch a pen. Do promise, Torvald dear! 



ACT nj A DOLL'S HOUSE 135 

HELMER. 

I promise. All this evening I shall be your slave. Lit- 
tle helpless thing ! But, by-the-bye, I must just 

[Going to hall door. 
NORA. 

What do you want there? 

HELMER. 
Only to see if there are any letters. 

NORA. 
No, no, don't do that, Torvald. 

HELMER. 
Why not? 

NORA. 
Torvald, I beg you not to. There are none there. 

HELMER. 

Let me just see. [Is going. 

[NORA, at the piano, plays thejirst bars of the taran- 
tella. 

HELMER. 

[At the door, stops.] Aha! 

X 

NORA. 

I can't dance to-morrow if I don't rehearse with you 
first. 

HELMER. 
[Going to her.] Are you really so nervous, dear Nora ? 



136 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

NORA. 

Yes, dreadfully! Let me rehearse at once. We have 
time before dinner. Oh, do sit down and play for me, 
Torvald dear; direct me and put me right, as you used 
to do. 

HELMER. 

With all the pleasure in life, since you wish it. 

[Sits at piano. 

[NoRA snatches the tambourine out of the box, and 
hurriedly drapes herself in a long parti-coloured 
shawl; then, with a bound, stands in the middle of 
thejtoor. 

NORA. 

Now play for me! Now I'll dance! 

[HELMER plays and NORA dances. RANK stands at 
the piano behind HELMER and looks on. 

HELMER. 
[Playing.] Slower! Slower! 

NORA. 
Can't do it slower! 

HELMER. 
Not so violently, Nora. 

NORA. 
I must! I must! 

HELMER. 
[Stops.] No, no, Nora that will never do* 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 137 

NORA. 

[Laughs and swings her tambourine.] Didn't I tell 
you so! 

RANK. 
Let me play for her. 

HELMEB. 

[Rising.] Yes, do then I can direct her better. 
[RANK sits down to the piano and plays; NORA 
dances more and more wildly. HELMER stands by 
the stove and addresses frequent corrections to her; 
she seems not to hear. Her hair breaks loose, and 
falls over her shoulders. She does not notice it, 
but goes on dancing. MRS. LINDEN enters and 
stands spellbound in the doorway. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Ah ! 

NORA. 
[Dancing.] We're having such fun here, Christina! 

HELMER. 

Why, Nora dear, you're dancing as if it were a matter 
of life and death. 

NORA. 
So it is. 

HELMER. 

Rank, stop! This is the merest madness. Stop, I 
say! 

[RANK stops playing, and NORA comes to a sudden 
standstill. 



138 A DOLL'S HOUSE JACT n 

HELMER. 

[Going towards fier.] I couldn't have believed it. 
You've positively forgotten all I taught you. 

NORA. 
[Throws the tambourine away.] You see for yourself. 

HELMER. 
You really do want teaching. 

NORA. 

Yes, you see how much I need it. You must practise 
with me up to the last moment. Will you promise me, 
Torvald ? 

HELMER. 
Certainly, certainly. 

NORA. 

Neither to-day nor to-morrow must you think of any- 
thing but me. You mustn't open a single letter 
mustn't look at the letter-box. 

HELMER. 
Ah, you're still afraid of that man 

NORA. 
Oh yes, yes, I am. 

HELMER. 

Nora, I can see it in your face there's a letter from 
him in the box. 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 139 

NORA. 

I don't know, I believe so. But you're not to read 
anything now; nothing ugly must come between us 
until all is over. 

RANK. 

[Softly, to HELMER.] You mustn't contradict her. 

HELMER. 

[Putting his arm around her.] The child shall have 
her own way. But to-morrow night, when the dance is 
over 

NORA. 
Then you shall be free. 

ELLEN appears in the doorway, right. 

ELLEN. 
Dinner is on the table, ma'am. 

NORA. 
We'll have some champagne, Ellen. 

ELLEN. 
Yes, ma'am. [Goes out.] 

HELMER. 
Dear me! Quite a banquet. 

NORA. 

Yes, and we'll keep it up till morning. [Calling out.] 
And macaroons, Ellen plenty just this once. 



140 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT n 

HELMER. 

[Seizing her hand.] Come, come, don't let us have 
this wild excitement! Be my own little lark again. 

NORA. 

Oh yes, I will. But now go into the dining-room; 
and you too, Doctor Rank. Christina, you must help 
me to do up my hair. 

RANK. 

[Softly, as they go.] There's nothing in the wind? 
Nothing I mean ? 

HELMER. 

Oh no, nothing of the kind. It's merely this babyish 
anxiety I was telling you about. 

[They go out to the right. 

NORA. 
Well? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
He's gone out of town. 

NORA. 
I saw it m your face. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

He comes back to-morrow evening. I left a note for 
him. 

NORA. 

You shouldn't have done that. Things must take 
their course. After all, there's something glorious in 
waiting for the miracle. 



ACT ii] A DOLL'S HOUSE 141 

MRS. LINDEN. 
What is it you're waiting for ? 

NORA. 

Oh, you can't understand. Go to them in the dining- 
room; I shall come in a moment. 

[MRS. LINDEN goes into the dining-room. NORA 
stands for a moment as though collecting her 
thoughts; then looks at her watch. 

NORA. 

Five. Seven hours till midnight. Then twenty-four 
hours till the next midnight. Then the tarantella will 
be over. Twenty-four and seven ? Thirty-one hours to 
live. 

HELMER appears at the door, right. 

HELMER. 
What has become of my little lark ? 

NORA. 
[Runs to him with open arms.] Here she isl 



ACT THIRD 

The same room. The table, with the chairs around it, in 
the middle. A lighted lamp on the table. The door to 
the hall stands open. Dance music is heard from the 
Jloor above. 

MRS. LINDEN sits by the table and absently turns the pages 
of a book. She tries to read, but seems unable to fix 
her attention; she frequently listens and looks anx- 
iously towards the hall door. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Looks at her watch.] Not here yet; and the time is 

nearly up. If only he hasn't [Listens again.] Ah, 

there he is. [She goes into the hall and cautiously opens 
the outer door; soft footsteps are heard on the stairs; she 
whispers.] Come in; there is no one here. 

KROGSTAD. 

[In the doorway.] I found a note from you at my 
house. What does it mean ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
I m u's t speak to you. 

KROGSTAD. 

Indeed? And in this house? 

142 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 143 

MRS. LINDEN. 

I could not see you at my rooms. They have no sep- 
arate entrance. Come in; we are quite alone. The 
servants are asleep, and the Helmers are at the ball up- 
stairs. 

KROGSTAD. 

[Coming into the room.] Ah! So the Helmers are 
dancing this evening? Really? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes. Why not ? 

KROGSTAD. 
Quite right. Why not? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
And now let us talk a little. 

KROGSTAD. 
Have we two anything to say to each other ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
A great deal. 

KROGSTAD. 
I should not have thought so. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Because you have never really understood me. 



144 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT in 

KROGSTAD. 

What was there to understand? The most natural 
thing in the world a heartless woman throws a man 
over when a better match offers. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Do you really think me so heartless? Do you think 
I broke with you lightly ? 

KROGSTAD. 
Did you not? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Do you really think so ? 

KROGSTAD. 
If not, why did you write me that letter ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Was it not best ? Since I had to break with you, was 
it not right that I should try to put an end to all that 
you felt for me ? 

KROGSTAD. 

[Clenching his hands together.] So that was it ? And 
all this for the sake of money! 

MRS. LINDEN. 

You ought not to forget that I had a helpless mother 
and two little brothers. We could not wait for you, Nils, 
as your prospects then stood. 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 145 

KROGSTAD. 

Perhaps not; but you had no right to cast me off for 
the sake of others, whoever the others might be. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

I don't know. I have often asked myself whether I 
had the right. 

KROGSTAD. 

[More softly.] When I had lost you, I seemed to have 
no firm ground left under my feet. Look at me now. I 
am a shipwrecked man clinging to a spar. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Rescue may be at hand. 

KROGSTAD. 

It was at hand ; but then you came and stood in the 
way. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Without my knowledge, Nils. I did not know till to- 
day that it was you I was to replace in the Bank. 

KROGSTAD. 

Well, I take your word for it. But now that you do 
know, do you mean to give way ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
No, for that would not help you in the least. 



146 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT in 

KROGSTAD. 
Oh, help, help ! I should do it whether or no. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

I have learnt prudence. Life and bitter necessity have 
schooled me. 

KROGSTAD. 
And life has taught me not to trust fine speeches. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Then life has taught you a very sensible thing. But 
deeds you will trust ? 

KROGSTAD. 
What do you mean ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

You said you were a shipwrecked man, clinging to a 
spar. 

KROGSTAD. 
I have good reason to say so. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

I too am shipwrecked, and clinging to a spar. I have 
no one to mourn for, no one to care for. 

KROGSTAD. 
You made your own choice. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

No choice was left me. 




A DOLL'S HOUSE 147 

KROGSTAD. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Nils, how if we two shipwrecked people could join 
hands ? 

KROGSTAD. 
What! 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Two on a raft have a better chance than if each clings 
to a separate spar. 

KROGSTAD. 
Christina! 

MRS. LINDEN. 
What do you think brought me to town ? 

KROGSTAD. 
Had you any thought of me ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

I must have work or I can't bear to live. All my life, 
as long as I can remember, I have worked; work has 
been my one great joy. Now I stand quite alone in the 
world, aimless and forlorn. There is no happiness in 
working for one's self. Nils, give me somebody and 
something to work for. 

KROGSTAD. 

I cannot believe in all this. It is simply a woman's 
romantic craving for self-sacrifice. 



148 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT in 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Have you ever found me romantic ? 

KROGSTAD. 

Would you really ? Tell me : do you know all my 

past ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes. 

KROGSTAD. 
And do you know what people say of me ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Did you not say just now that with me you could have 
been another man ? 

KROGSTAD. 
I am sure of it. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Is it too late ? 

KROGSTAD. 

Christina, do you know what you are doing? Yes, 
you do; I see it in your face. Have you the courage 
then ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

I need some one to be a mother to, and your children 
need a mother. You need me, and I I need you. Nils, 
I believe in your better self. With you I fear nothing. 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 149 

KROGSTAD. 

[Seizing her hands.] Thank you thank you, Chris- 
tina. Now I shall make others see me as you do. Ah, 
I forgot 

MRS. LINDEN. 
[Listening.] Hush! The tarantella! Go! go! 

KROGSTAD. 
Why? What is it? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Don't you hear the dancing overhead? As soon as 
that is over they will be here. 

KROGSTAD. 

Oh yes, I shall go. Nothing will come of this, after 
all. Of course, you don't know the step I have taken 
against the Helmers. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes, Nils, I do know. 

KROGSTAD. 
And yet you have the courage to ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
I know to what lengths despair can drive a man. 

KROGSTAD. 
Oh, if I could only undo it! 



150 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT m 

MRS. LINDEN. 
You could. Your letter is still in the box. 

KROGSTAD. 
Are you sure ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes; but 

KROGSTAD. 

[Looking to her searchingly.] Is that what it all means ? 
You want to save your friend at any price. Say it out r 
is that your idea ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Nils, a woman who has once sold herself for the sake 
of others, does not do so again. 

KROGSTAD. 
I shall demand my letter back again. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

No, no. 

KROGSTAD. 

Yes, of course. I shall wait till Helmer comes; I shall 
tell him to give it back to me that it's only about my 
dismissal that I don't want it read 

MRS. LINDEN. 
No, Nils, you must not recall the letter. 

KROGSTAD. 

But tell me, wasn't that just why you got me to come 
here? 



ACT III] 



A DOLL'S HOUSE 
MRS. LINDEN. 



151 



Yes, in my first alarm. But a day has passed since 
then, and in that day I have seen incredible things in 
this house. Helmer must know everything; there must 
be an end to this unhappy secret. These two must come 
to a full understanding. They must have done with all 
these shifts and subterfuges. 



KROGSTAD. 

Very well, if you like to risk it. 
can do, and at once - 

MRS. LINDEN. 



But one thing I 



[Listening.] Make haste! Go, go! The dance is over; 
we're not safe another moment. 

KROGSTAD. 
I shall wait for you in the street. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes, do; you must see me home. 

KROGSTAD. 

I never was so happy in all my life! 

[KROGSTAD goes out by the outer door. The door 
between the room and the hall remains open. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

[Arranging the room and getting her outdoor things to- 
gether.] What a change! What a change! To have 
some one to work for, to live for; a home to make happy! 



152 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT m 

Well, it shall not be my fault if I fail. I wish they would 
come. [Listens.] Ah, here they are! I must get my 
things on. 

[Takes bonnet and cloak. HELMER'S and NORA'S 
voices are heard outside, a key is turned in the lock, 
and HELMER drags NORA almost by force into tJie 
hall. She wears the Italian costume with a large 
black shawl over it. He is in evening dress and 
wears a black domino, open. 

NORA. 

[Struggling with him in tJie doorway.] No, no, no! I 
won't. go in! I want to go upstairs again; I don't want 
to leave so early! 

HELMER. 
But, my dearest girl ! 

NORA. 

Oh, please, please, Torvald, I beseech you only one 
hour more! 

HELMER. 

Not one minute more, Nora dear; you know what we 
agreed. Come, come in; you're catching cold here. 

[He leads her gently into the room in spite of her re- 
sistance. 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Good-evening. 

NORA. 
Christina! 



ACT m] A DOLL'S HOUSE 153 

HELMEB. 
What, Mrs. Linden! You here so late? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Yes, I ought to apologise. I did so want to see Nora 
in her costume. 

NORA. 
Have you been sitting here waiting for me? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Yes; unfortunately I came too late. You had gone 
upstairs already, and I felt I couldn't go away without 
seeing you. 

HELMER. 

[Taking NORA'S shawl off.] Well then, just look at 
her! I assure you she's worth it. Isn't she lovely, Mrs. 
Linden ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Yes, I must say 

HELMER. 

Isn't she exquisite? Every one said so. But she's 
dreadfully obstinate, dear little creature. What's to be 
done with her? Just think, I had almost to force her 
away. 

NORA. 

Oh, Torvald, you'll be sorry some day that you didn't 
let me stay, if only for one half-hour more. 



154 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT in 

HELMER. 

There! You hear her, Mrs. Linden ? She dances her 
tarantella with wild applause, and well she deserved it, 
I must say though there was, perhaps, a little too much 
nature in her rendering of the idea more than was, 
strictly speaking, artistic. But never mind the point is, 
she made a great success, a tremendous success. Was I 
to let her remain after that to weaken the impression ? 
Not if I know it. I took my sweet little Capri girl my 
capricious little Capri girl, I might say under my arm; 
a rapid turn round the room, a curtsey to all sides, and 
as they say in novels the lovely apparition vanished! 
An exit should always be effective, Mrs. Linden; but I 
can't get Nora to see it. By Jove! it's warm here. 
[Throws his domino on a chair and opens the door to his 
room.] What! No light there ? Oh, of course. Excuse 
me [Goes in and lights candles. 

NORA. 
[Whispers breathlessly.] Well ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
[Softly.] I've spoken to him. 

NORA. 
And ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Nora you must tell your husband everything- 

NORA. 
[Tonelessly.] I knew it! 



ACT m] A DOLL'S HOUSE 155 

MRS. LINDEN. 

You have nothing to fear from Krogstad ; but you must 
speak out. 

NORA. 
I shall not speak! 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Then the letter will. 

NORA. 

Thank you, Christina. Now I know what I have to 
do. Hush ! 

HELMER. 

[Coming back.] Well, Mrs. Linden, have you admired 
her? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes; and now I must say good-night. 

HELMER. 
What, already ? Does this knitting belong to you ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
[Takes it.] Yes, thanks; I was nearly forgetting it. 

HELMER. 
Then you do knit? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes. 

HELMER. 
Do you know, you ought to embroider instead ? 



156 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT m 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Indeed! Why? 

HELMER. 

Because it's so much prettier. Look now! You hold 
the embroidery in the left hand, so, and then work the 
needle with the right hand, in a long, graceful curve 
don't you ? 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Yes, I suppose so. 

HELMER. 

But knitting is always ugly. Just look your arms 
close to your sides, and the needles going up and down 
there's something Chinese about it. They really gave us 
splendid champagne to-night. 

MRS. LINDEN. 

Well, good-night, Nora, and don't be obstinate any 
more. 

HELMER. 
Well said, Mrs. Linden! 

MRS. LINDEN. 
Good-night, Mr. Helmer. 

HELMER. 

[Accompanying her to the door.] Good-night, good- 
night; I hope you'll get safely home. I should be glad 
to but you have such a short way to go. Good-night, 
good-night. [She goes; HELMER shuts the door after her 
and comes forward again.] At last we've got rid of her: 
she's a terrible bore. 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 157 

NORA. 
Aren't you very tired, Torvald? 

HELMER. 
No, not in the least. 

NORA. 
Nor sleepy ? 

HELMER. 

Not a bit. I feel particularly lively. But you ? You 
do look tired and sleepy. 

NORA. 
Yes, very tired. I shall soon sleep now. 

HELMER. 

There, you see. I was right after all not to let you 
stay longer. 

NORA. 
Oh, everything you do is right. 

HELMER. 

[Kissing her forehead.] Now my lark is speaking like 
a reasonable being. Did you notice how jolly Rank was 
this evening? 

NORA. 

Indeed? Was he? I had no chance of speaking to 
him. 

HELMER. 

Nor I, much; but I haven't seen him in such good 
spirits for a long time. [Looks at NORA a little, then 



158 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT m 

comes nearer her.] It's splendid to be back in our own 
home, to be quite alone together! Oh, you enchanting 
creature ! 

NORA. 
Don't look at me in that way, Torvald. 

HELMEB. 

I am not to look at my dearest treasure? at all the 
oveliness that is mine, mine only, wholly and entirely 
mine? 

NORA. 

[Goes to the other side of the table.] You mustn't say 
these things to me this evening. 

HELMER. 

[Following.] I see you have the tarantella still in your 
blood and that makes you all the more enticing. Lis- 
ten! the other people are going now. [More softly.] 
Nora soon the whole house will be still. 

NORA. 
Yes, I hope so. 

HELMER. 

Yes, don't you, Nora darling ? When we are among 
strangers, do you know why I speak so little to you, and 
keep so far away, and only steal a glance at you now and 
then do you know why I do it ? Because I am fancy- 
ing that we love each other in secret, that I am secretly 
betrothed to you, and that no one dreams that there is 
anything between us. 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 159 

NORA. 
Yes, yes, yes. I know all your thoughts are with me. 

HELMER. 

And then, when the time conies to go, and I put the 
shawl about your smooth, soft shoulders, and this glori- 
ous neck of yours, I imagine you are my bride, that our 
marriage is just over, that I am bringing you for the 
first time to my home that I am alone with you for the 
first time quite alone with you, in your trembling love- 
liness! All this evening I have been longing for you, and 
you only. When I watched you swaying and whirling 
in the tarantella my blood boiled I could endure it no 
longer; and that's why I made you come home with me 
so early 

NORA. 

Go now, Torvald! Go away from me. I won't have 
all this. 

HELMER. 

What do you mean? Ah, I see you're teasing me, 
little Nora! Won't won't! Am I not your hus- 
band ? [A knock at the outer door. 

NORA. 
[Starts.] Did you hear ? 

HELMER. 
[Going towards the hall.] Who's there ? 

RANK. 
[Outside.] It is I; may I come in for a moment? 



160 A DOLL'S HOUSE IACT in 

HELMER. 

[In a low tone, annoyed.] Oh, what can he want just 
now ? [Aloud.] Wait a moment. [Opens door.] Come, 
it's nice of you to look in. 

RANK. 

I thought I heard your voice, and that put it into my 
head. [Looks round.] Ah, this dear old place! How 
cosy you two are here! 

HELMER. 
You seemed to find it pleasant enough upstairs, too. 

RANK. 

Exceedingly. Why not? Why shouldn't one take 
one's share of everything in this world ? All one can, at 
least, and as long as one can. The wine was splen- 
did- 

HELMER. 
Especially the champagne. 

RANK. 

Did you notice it ? It's incredible the quantity I con- 
trived to get down. 

NORA. 
Torvald drank plenty of champagne, too. 

RANK. 
Did he? 

NORA. 
Yes, and it always puts him in such spirits. 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 161 

RANK. 

Well, why shouldn't one have a jolly evening after a 
well-spent day ? 

HELMER. 

Well-spent! Well, I haven't much to boast of in that 
respect. 

RANK. 

[Slapping him on the shoulder.] But I have, don't 
you see? 

NORA. 

I suppose you have been engaged in a scientific inves- 
tigation, Doctor Rank ? 

RANK. 
Quite right. 

HELMER. 

Bless me ! Little Nora talking about scientific investi- 
gations ! 

NORA. 
Am I to congratulate you on the result? 

RANK. 
By all means. 

NORA. 
It was good then ? 

RANK. 

The best possible, both for doctor and patient cer- 
tainty. 



162 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT in 

NORA. 
[Quickly and searchingly.] Certainty ? 

RANK. 

Absolute certainty. Wasn't I right to enjoy myself after 
that? 

NORA. 
Yes, quite right, Doctor Rank. 

HELMER. 

And so say I, provided you don't have to pay for it 
to-morrow. 

RANK. 
Well, in this life nothing is to be had for nothing. 

NORA. 

Doctor Rank I'm sure you are very fond of mas- 
querades ? 

RANK. 
Yes, when there are plenty of amusing disguises 

NORA. 

Tell me, what shall we two be at our next masquer- 
ade? 

HELMER. 
Little featherbrain! Thinking of your next already! 

RANK. 
We two ? I'll tell you. You must go as a good fairy. 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 163 

HELMER. 
Ah, but what costume would indicate that? 

RANK. 
She has simply to wear her everyday dress. 

HELMER. 

Capital! But don't you know what you will be your- 
self? 

RANK. 
Yes, my dear friend,! am perfectly clear upon that point. 

HELMER. 
Well? 

RANK. 
At the next masquerade I shall be invisible. 

HELMER. 
What a comical idea! 

RANK. 

There's a big black hat haven't you heard of the invis- 
ible hat ? It comes down all over you, and then no one 
can see you. 

HELMER. 
[With a suppressed smile.] No, you're right there. 

RANK. 

But I'm quite forgetting what I came for. Helmer, 
give me a cigar one of the dark Havanas. 



164 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT m 

HELMER. 
With the greatest pleasure. [Hands cigar-case. 

RANK. 

[Takes one and cuts the end off.] Thank you. 

NORA. 
[Striking a wax match.] Let me give you a light. 

RANK. 
A thousand thanks. 

[She holds the match. He lights his cigar at it. 

RANK. 
And now, good-bye! 

HELMER. 
Good-bye, good-bye, my dear fellow. 

NORA. 
Sleep well, Doctor Rank. 

RANK. 
Thanks for the wish. 

NORA. 
Wish me the same. 

RANK. 

You ? Very well, since you ask me Sleep well. And 
thanks for the light. [He nods to them both and goes out. 

HELMER. 
[In an undertone.] He's been drinking a good deal. 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 165 

NORA. 

[Absently.] I daresay. [HELMER takes his bunch of 
keys from his pocket and goes into the hall.] Torvald, 
what are you doing there ? 

HELMER. 

I must empty the letter-box; it's quite full; there will 
be no room for the newspapers to-morrow morning. 

NORA. 
Are you going to work to-night? 

HELMER. 

You know very well I am not. Why, how is this? 
Some one has been at the lock. 

NORA. 

The lock ? 

HELMER. 

I'm sure of it. What does it mean? I can't think 

that the servants ? Here's a broken hair-pin. Nora, 

it's one of yours. 

NORA. 

[Quickly.] It must have been the children 



HELMER. 

Then you must break them of such tricks. There! 
At last I've got it open. [Takes contents out and calls 
into the kitchen.] Ellen! Ellen, just put the hall door 
lamp out. 

[He returns with letters in his hand, and shuts the 
inner door. 



166 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT m 

HELMER. 

Just see how they've accumulated. [Turning them 
over.] Why, what's this? 

NORA. 
[At the window.] The letter! Oh no, no, Torvald! 

HELMER. 
Two visiting-cards from Rank. 

NORA. 
From Doctor Rank? 

HELMER. 

[Looking at them.] Doctor Rank. They were on the 
top. He must just have put them in. 

NORA. 
Is there anything on them ? 

HELMER. 

There's a black cross over the name. Look at it. 
What an unpleasant idea! It looks just as if he were 
announcing his own death. 

NORA. 
So he is. 

HELMER. 

What! Do you know anything? Has he told you 
anything ? 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 167 

i 
NORA. 

Yes. These cards mean that he has taken his last 
leave of us. He is going to shut himself up and die. 

HELMER. 

Poor fellow! Of course I knew we couldn't hope to 

keep him long. But so soon ! And to go and creep 

into his lair like a wounded animal 

NORA. 

When we must go, it is best to go silently. Don't 
you think so, Torvald ? 

HELMER. 

[Walking up and douon.] He had so grown into our 
lives, I can't realise that he is gone. He and his suffer- 
ings and his loneliness formed a sort of cloudy back- 
ground to the sunshine of our happiness. Well, per- 
haps it's best as it is at any rate for him. [Stands still.] 
And perhaps for us too, Nora. Now we two are thrown 
entirely upon each other. [Takes her in his arms.] My 
darling wife! I feel as if I could never hold you close 
enough. Do you know, Nora, I often wish some dan- 
ger might threaten you, that I might risk body and soul, 
and everything, everything, for your dear sake. 

NORA. 

[Tears herself from him and says firmly.] Now you 
shall read your letters, Torvald. 

HELMER. 

No, no; not to-night. I want to be with you, my sweet 
wife. 



168 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT in 

NORA. 
With the thought of your dying friend ? 

HELMEB. 

You are right. This has shaken us both. Unloveli- 
ness has come between us thoughts of death and decay. 
We must seek to cast them off. Till then we will re- 
main apart. 

NORA. 

[Her arms round his neck.] Torvald! Good-night! 
good-night! 

HELMER. 

[Kissing her forehead.] Good-night, my little song- 
bird. Sleep well, Nora. Now I shall go and read my 
letters. 

[He goes with the letters in his hand into his room 
and shuts the door. 

NORA. 

[With wild eyes, gropes about her, seizes HELMER'S dom- 
ino, throws it round her, and whispers quickly, hoarsely, 
and brokenly.] Never to see him again. Never, never, 
never. [Throws her shawl over her head.] Never to see 
the children again. Never, never. Oh that black, icy 

water! Oh that bottomless ! If it were only over! 

Now he has it; he's reading it. Oh, no, no, no, not yet. 

Torvald, good-bye ! Good-bye, my little ones ! 

[She is rushing out by the hall; at the same moment 

HELMER flings his door open, and stands there with 

an open letter in his hand. 



ACT m] A DOLL'S HOUSE 169 

HELMER. 
Nora! 

NORA. 
[Shrieks.] Ah ! 

HELMER. 
What is this? Do you know what is in this letter? 

NORA. 
Yes, I know. Let me go! Let me pass! 

HELMER. 
[Holds her back.] Where do you want to go ? 

NORA. 

[Tries to break away from him.] You shall not save 
me, Torvald. 

HELMER. 

[Falling back.] True! Is what he writes true? No, 
no, it is impossible that this can be true. 

NORA. 

It is true. I have loved you beyond all else in the 
world. 

HELMER. 
Pshaw no silly evasions! 

NORA. 
[A step nearer him.] Torvald ! 



170 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT in 

HELMER. 
Wretched woman what have you done! 

NORA. 

Let me go you shall not save me! You shall not 
take my guilt upon yourself! 

HELMER. 

I don't want any melodramatic airs. [Locks the outer 
door.] Here you shall stay and give an account of your- 
self. Do you understand what you have done ? Answer ! 
Do you understand it? 

NORA. 

[Looks at him fixedly, and says with a stiffening expres- 
sion.] Yes; now I begin fully to understand it. 

HELMER. 

[Walking up and down.] Oh! what an awful awaken- 
ing! During all these eight years she who was my 
pride and my joy a hypocrite, a liar worse, worse 
a criminal. Oh, the unfathomable hideousness of it all! 
Ugh! Ugh! 

[NoRA says nothing, and continues to look fixedly at 
him. 

HELMER. 

I ought to have known how it would be. I ought to 
have foreseen it. All your father's want of principle 
be silent! all your father's want of principle you have 
inherited no religion, no morality, no sense of duty. 
How I am punished for screening him! I did it for 
your sake; and you reward me like this. 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 171 

NORA. 
Yes like this. 

HELMER. 

You have destroyed my whole happiness. You have 
ruined my future. Oh, it's frightful to think of! I am 
in the power of a scoundrel; he can do whatever he 
pleases with me, demand whatever he chooses; he can 
domineer over me as much as he likes, and I must sub- 
mit. And all this disaster and ruin is brought upon me 
by an unprincipled woman! 

NORA. 
When I am out of the world, you will be free. 

HELMER. 

Oh, no fine phrases. Your father, too, was always 
ready with them. What good would it do me, if you were 
" out of the world,'* as you say ? No good whatever ! He 
can publish the story all the same; I might even be sus- 
pected of collusion. People will think I was at the bot- 
tom of it all and egged you on. And for all this I have 
you to thank you whom I have done nothing but pet 
and spoil during our whole married life. Do you under- 
stand now what you have done to me ? 

NORA. 
[With cold calmness.] Yes. 

HELMER. 

The thing is so incredible, I can't grasp it. But we 
must come to an understanding. Take that shawl off. 



172 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT in 

Take it off, I say! I must try to pacify him in one way 
or another the matter must be hushed up, cost what it 
may. As for you and me, we must make no outward 
change in our way of life no outward change, you 
understand. Of course, you will continue to live here. 
But the children cannot be left in your care. I dare not 
trust them to you. Oh, to have to say this to one I have 

loved so tenderly whom I still ! But that must be 

a thing of the past. Henceforward there can be no ques- 
tion of happiness, but merely of saving the ruins, the 

shreds, the show [A ring; HELMEB starts.] What's 

that? So late! Can it be the worst? Can he ? 

Hide yourself, Nora; say you are ill. 

[NoBA stands motionless. HELMEB goes to the door 
and opens it. 

ELLEN. 

[Half dressed, in the hall.] Here is a letter for you, 
ma'am. 

HELMEB. 

Give it to me. [Seizes ihe letter and shuts the door.] 
Yes, from him. You shall not have it. I shall read it. 

NOBA. 
Read it! 

HELMEB. 

[By the lamp.] I have hardly the courage to. We 
may both be lost, both you and I. Ah! I must know. 
[Hastily tears the letter open; reads a few lines, looks at an 
enclosure; with a cry of joy.] Nora! 

[NoBA looks inquiringly at him. 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 173 

HELMER. 

Nora! Oh! I must read it again. Yes, yes, it is so. 
I am saved! Nora, I am saved! 

NORA. 
And I? 

HELMER. 

You too, of course; we are both saved, both of us. 
Look here he sends you back your promissory note. 
He writes that he regrets and apologises, that a happy 

turn in his life Oh, what matter what he writes. 

We are saved, Nora! No one can harm you. Oh, 

Nora, Nora ; but first to get rid of this hateful thing. 

I'll just see [Glances at the I.O.U.] No, I will not 

look at it; the whole thing shall be nothing but a dream 
to me. [Tears the I.O.U. and both letters in pieces. 
Throws them into thejire and watches them burn.] There! 

it's gone! He said that ever since Christmas Eve 

Oh, Nora, they must have been three terrible days for 
you! 

NORA. 
I have fought a hard fight for the last three days. 

HELMER. 

And in your agony you saw no other outlet but 

No; we won't think of that horror. We will only re- 
joice and repeat it's over, all over! Don't you hear, 
Nora ? You don't seem able to grasp it. Yes, it's over. 
What is this set look on your face ? Oh, my poor Nora, 
I understand; you cannot believe that I have forgiven 
you. But I have, Nora; I swear it. I have forgiven 



174 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT m 

everything. I know that what you did was all for love 
of me. 

NORA. 
That is true. 

HELMER. 

You loved me as a wife should love her husband. It 
was only the means that, in your inexperience, you mis- 
judged. But do you think I love you the less because 
you cannot do without guidance? No, no. Only lean 
on me; I will counsel you, and guide you. I should be 
no true man if this very womanly helplessness did not 
make you doubly dear in my eyes. You mustn't dwell 
upon the hard things I said in my first moment of terror, 
when the world seemed to be tumbling about my ears. 
I have forgiven you, Nora I swear I have forgiven you. 

NORA. 

I thank you for your forgiveness. 

[Goes out, to the right. 

HELMER. 

No, stay ! [Looking through the doorway.] What 

are you going to do ? 

NORA. 
[Inside.] To take off my masquerade dress. 

HELMER. 

[In the doorway.] Yes, do, dear. Try to calm down, 
and recover your balance, my scared little song-bird. 
You may rest secure. I have broad wings to shield you. 
[Walking up and down near the door.] Oh, how lovely 



m] A DOLL'S HOUSE 175 

how cosy our home is, Nora! Here you are safe; here I 
can shelter you like a hunted dove whom I have saved 
from the claws of the hawk. I shall soon bring your 
poor beating heart to rest; believe me, Nora, very soon. 
To-morrow all this will seem quite different everything 
will be as before. I shall not need to tell you again that 
I forgive you; you will feel for yourself that it is true. 
How could you think I could find it in my heart to drive 
you away, or even so much as to reproach you? Oh, 
you don't know a true man's heart, Nora. There is 
something indescribably sweet and soothing to a man in 
having forgiven his wife honestly forgiven her, from the 
bottom of his heart. She becomes his property in a 
double sense. She is as though born again; she has 
become, so to speak, at once his wife and his child. 
That is what you shall henceforth be to me, my bewil- 
dered, helpless darling. Don't be troubled about any- 
thing, Nora; only open your heart to me, and I will be 
both will and conscience to you. [NoRA enters in every- 
day dress.] Why, what's this ? Not gone to bed ? You 
have changed your dress ? 

NORA. 
Yes, Torvald; now I have changed my dress. 

HELMER. 
But why now, so late ? 

NORA. 
I shall not sleep to-night. 

HELMER. 
But, Nora dear 



176 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT in 

NORA. 

[Looking at her watch.] It's not so late yet. Sit down, 
Torvald ; you and I have much to say to each other. 

[She sits at one side of the table. 

HELMER. 
Nora what does this mean ? Your cold, set face 



NORA. 

Sit down. It will take some time. I have much to talk 
over with you. 

[HELMER sits at the other side of the table. 

HELMER. 
You alarm me, Nora. I don't understand you. 

NORA. 

No, that is just it. You don't understand me; and I 
have never understood you till to-night. No, don't in- 
terrupt. Only listen to what I say. We must come to 
a final settlement, Torvald. 

HELMER. 
How do you mean ? 

NORA. 

[After a short silence.] Does not one thing strike you 
as we sit here? 

HELMER. 
What should strike me ? 



ACT m] A DOLL'S HOUSE 111 

NORA. 

We have been married eight years. Does it not strike 
you that this is the first time we two, you and I, man and 
wife, have talked together seriously? 

HELMER. 
Seriously! What do you call seriously? 

NORA. 

During eight whole years, and more ever since the 
day we first met we have never exchanged one serious 
word about serious things. 

HELMER. 

Was I always to trouble you with the cares you could 
not help me to bear? 

NORA. 

I am not talking of cares. I say that we have never 
yet set ourselves seriously to get to the bottom of any- 
thing. 

HELMER. 

Why, my dearest Nora, what have you to do with seri- 
ous things ? 

NORA. 

There we have it! You have never understood me. 
I have had great injustice done me, Torvald; first by 
father, and then by you. 

HELMER. 

What! By your father and me? By us, who hav6 
loved you more than all the world ? 



178 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT m 

NORA. 

[Shaking her head.] You have never loved me. You 
only thought it amusing to be in love with me. 

HELMEB. 
Why, Nora, what a thing to say! 

NORA. 

Yes, it is so, Torvald. While I was at home with 
father, he used to tell me all his opinions, and I held the 
same opinions. If I had others I said nothing about 
them, because he wouldn't have liked it. He used to 
call me his doll-child, and played with me as I played 
with my dolls. Then I came to live in your house 

HELMER. 
What an expression to use about our marriage! 

NORA. 

[Undisturbed.] I mean I passed from father's hands 
into yours. You arranged everything according to your 
taste; and I got the same tastes as you ; or I pretended to 
I don't know which both ways, perhaps; sometimes one 
and sometimes the other. When I look back on it now, 
I seem to have been living here like a beggar, from hand 
to mouth. I lived by performing tricks for you, Torvald. 
But you would have it so. You and father have done 
me a great wrong. It is your fault that my life has come 
to nothing. 

HELMER. 

Why, Nora, how unreasonable and ungrateful you are! 
Have you not been happy here ? 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 179 

NORA. 
No, never. I thought I was; but I never was. 

HELMER. 
Not not happy! 

NORA. 

No; only merry. And you have always been so kind 
to me. But our house has been nothing but a play-room. 
Here I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I used 
to be papa's doll-child. And the children, in their turn, 
have been my dolls. I thought it fun when you played 
with me, just as the children did when I played with 
them. That has been our marriage, Torvald. 

HELMER. 

There is some truth in what you say, exaggerated and 
overstrained though it be. But henceforth it shall be dif- 
ferent. Play-time is over; now comes the time for edu- 
cation. 

NORA. 
Whose education ? Mine, or the children's ? 

HELMER. 
Both, my dear Nora. 

NORA. 

Oh, Torvald, you are not the man to teach me to be a 
fit wife for you. 

HELMER. 
And you can say that ? 



180 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT m 

NORA. 

And I how have I prepared myself to educate the 
children ? 

HELMEB. 
Nora! 

NORA. 

Did you not say yourself, a few minutes ago, you dared 
not trust them to me ? 

HELMER. 

In the excitement of the moment! Why should you 
dwell upon that? 

NORA. 

No you were perfectly right. That problem is be- 
yond me. There is another to be solved first I must try 
to educate myself. You are not the man to help me in 
that. I must set about it alone. And that is why I am 
leaving you. 

HELMER. 
[Jumping up.] What do you mean to say ? 

NORA. 

I must stand quite alone if I am ever to know myself 
and my surroundings; so I cannot stay with you. 

HELMER. 
Nora! Nora! 

NORA. 

I am going at once. I daresay Christina will take me 
in for to-night 



ACT m] A DOLL'S HOUSE 181 

HELMER. 
You are mad! I shall not allow it! I forbid it! 

NORA. 

It is of no use your forbidding me anything now. I 
shall take with me what belongs to me. From you I 
will accept nothing, either now or afterwards. 

HELMER. 
What madness this is! 

NORA. 

To-morrow I shall go home I mean to what was my 
home. It will be easier for me to find some opening there. 

HELMER. 
Oh, in your blind inexperience 

NORA. 
I must try to gain experience, Torvald. 

HELMER. 

To forsake your home, your husband, and your chil- 
dren! And you don't consider what the world will say. 

NORA. 

I can pay no heed to that. I only know that I must 
do it. 

HELMER. 

This is monstrous! Can you forsake your holiest du- 
ties in this way? 



182 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT in 

NORA. 
What do you consider my holiest duties ? 

HELMER. 

Do I need to tell you that ? Your duties to your hus- 
band and your children. 

NORA. 
I have other duties equally sacred. 

HELMER. 
Impossible! What duties do you mean? 

NORA. 
My duties towards myself. 

HELMER. 
Before all else you are a wife and a mother. 

NORA. 

That I no longer believe. I believe that before all 
else I am a human being, just as much as you are or 
at least that I should try to become one. I know that 
most people agree with you, Torvald, and that they say 
so in books. But henceforth I can't be satisfied with 
what most people say, and what is in books. I must 
think things out for myself, and try to get clear about 
them. 

HELMER. 

Are you not clear about your place in your own home ? 
Have you not an infallible guide in questions like these ? 
Have you not religion ? 



ACT m] A DOLL'S HOUSE 183 

NORA. 
Oh, Torvald, I don't really know what religion is. 

HELMER. 
What do you mean ? 

NORA. 

I know nothing but what Pastor Hansen told me when 
I was confirmed. He explained that religion was this and 
that. When I get away from all this and stand alone, 
I will look into that matter too. I will see whether what 
he taught me is right, or, at any rate, whether it is right 
for me. 

HELMER. 

Oh, this is unheard of! And from so young a woman! 
But if religion cannot keep you right, let me appeal to 
your conscience for I suppose you have some moral 
feeling ? Or, answer me : perhaps you have none ? 

NORA. 

Well, Torvald, it's not easy to say. I really don't 
know I am all at sea about these things. I only know 
that I think quite differently from you about them. I 
hear, too, that the laws are different from what I thought; 
but I can't believe that they can be right. It appears that 
a woman has no right to spare her dying father, or to 
save her husband's life! I don't believe that. 

HELMER. 

You talk like a child. You don't understand the society 
in which you live. 



184 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT in 

NORA. 

No, I do not. But now I shall try to learn. I must 
make up my mind which is right society or I. 

HELMER. 

Nora, you are ill; you are feverish; I almost think you 
are out of your senses. 

NORA. 

I have never felt so much clearness and certainty as 
to-night. 

HELMER. 

You are clear and certain enough to forsake husband 
and children ? 

NORA. 
Yes, I am. 

HELMER. 
Then there is only one explanation possible. 

NORA. 
What is that ? 

HELMER. 
You no longer love me. 

NORA. 
No; that is just it. 

HELMER. 
Nora! Can you say so! 




Herr Jerndorff as Dr. Rank in "A Doll's House " 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 185 

NORA. 

Oh, I'm so sorry, Torvald; for you've always been so 
kind to me. But I can't help it. I do not love you any 
longer. 

HELMER. 

[Mastering himself with difficulty.] Are you clear and 
certain on this point too ? 

NORA. 

Yes, quite. That is why I will not stay here any 
longer. 

HELMER. 

And can you also make clear to me how I have for- 
feited your love? 

NORA. 

Yes, I can. It was this evening, when the miracle did 
not happen; for then I saw you were not the man I had 
imagined. 

HELMER. 

Explain yourself more clearly; I don't understand. 

NORA. 

I have waited so patiently all these eight years; for of 
course I saw clearly enough that miracles don't happen 
every day. When this crushing blow threatened me, I 
said to myself so confidently, "Now comes the miracle!" 
When Krogstad's letter lay in the box, it never for a 
moment occurred to me that you would think of sub- 
mitting to that man's conditions. I was convinced that 
you would say to him, " Make it known to all the world "; 
and that then 



186 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT m 

HELMER. 

Well ? When I had given my own wife's name up to 
disgrace and shame ? 

NORA. 

Then I firmly believed that you would come forward, 
take everything upon yourself, and say, " I am the guilty 
one." 

HELMER. 
Nora ! 

NORA. 

You mean I would never have accepted such a sacri- 
fice ? No, certainly not. But what would my asser- 
tions have been worth in opposition to yours ? T hat 
was the miracle that I hoped for and dreaded. And it 
was to hinder that that I wanted to die. 

HELMER. 

I would gladly work for you day and night, Nora 
bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no man sacri- 
fices his honour, even for one he loves. 

NORA. 
Millions of women have done so. 

HELMER. 
Oh, you think and talk like a silly child. 

NORA. 

Very likely. But you neither think nor talk like the 
man I can share my life with. When your terror was 



ACT m] A DOLL'S HOUSE 187 

over not for what threatened me, but for yourself 
when there was nothing more to fear then it seemed to 
you as though nothing had happened. I was your lark 
again, your doll, just as before whom you would take 
twice as much care of in future, because she was so weak 
and fragile. [Stands up.] Torvald in that moment it 
burst upon me that I had been living here these eight 
years with a strange man, and had borne him three chil- 
dren. Oh, I can't bear to think of it! I could tear 
myself to pieces! 

HELMER. 

[Sadly.] I see it, I see it; an abyss has opened be- 
tween us. But, Nora, can it never be filled up ? 

NORA. 
As I now am, I am no wife for you. 

HELMER. 
I have strength to become another man. 

NORA. 
Perhaps when your doll is taken away from you. 

HELMER. 

To part to part from you! No, Nora, no; I can't 
grasp the thought. 

NORA. 

[Going into room on the rigM.] The more reason for 
the thing to happen. 

[She comes back with out-door things and a small 
travelling-bag, which she places on a chair. 



188 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT m 

HELMER. 
Nora, Nora, not now! Wait till to-morrow. 

NORA. 

[Putting on cloak.] I can't spend the night in a 
strange man's house. 

HELMER. 
But can we not live here, as brother and sister ? 

NORA. 

[Fastening her hat.} You know very well that wouldn't 
last long. [Puts on the shawl.} Good-bye, Torvald. No, 
I won't go to the children. I know they are in better 
hands than mine. As I now am, I can be nothing to 
them. - 

HELMER. 
But some time, Nora some time ? 

NORA. 

How can I tell ? I have no idea what will become of 
me. 

HELMER. 
But you are my wife, now and always! 

NORA. 

Listen, Torvald when a wife leaves her husband's 
house, as I am doing, I have heard that in the eyes of the 
law he is free from all duties towards her. At any rate, 
I release you from all duties. You must not feel your- 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 189 

self bound, any more than I shall. There must be per- 
fect freedom on both sides. There, I give you back 
your ring. Give me mine. 





HELMER. 


That too ? 






NORA. 


That too. 






HELMER. 


Here it is. 





NORA. 

Very well. Now it is all over. I lay the keys here. 
The servants know about everything in the house bet- 
ter than I do. To-morrow, when I have started, Chris- 
tina will come to pack up the things I brought with me 
from home. I will have them sent after me. 

HELMER. 

All over! all over! Nora, will you never think of me 
again ? 

NORA. 

Oh, I shall often think of you, and the children, and 
this house. 

HELMER. 
May I write to you, Nora? 

NORA. 
No never. You must not. 

HELMER. 
But I must send you 



10 A DOLL'S HOUSE [ACT m 

NORA. 
Nothing, nothing. 

HELMEB. 
I must help you if you need it. 

NORA. 

No, I say. I take nothing from strangers. 

/ 

HELMER. 
Nora can I never be more than a stranger to you ? 

NORA. 

[Taking her travelling-bag.] Oh, Torvald, then the 
miracle of miracles would have to happen 

HELMER. 
What is the miracle of miracles? 

NORA. 

Both of us would have to change so that Oh, Tor- 
vald, I no longer believe in miracles. 

HELMER. 

But I will believe. Tell me! We must so change 
that ? 

NORA. 

That communion between us shall be a marriage. 
Good-bye. [She goes out by the hall door. 



ACT in] A DOLL'S HOUSE 191 

HELMER. 

[Sinks into a chair by the door with his face in his 
hands.] Nora! Nora! [He looks round and rises.] 
Empty. She is gone. [A hope springs up in him.] 

Ah! The miracle of miracles ?! 

[From below is heard the reverberation of a heavy 
door closing. 



THE END. 



GHOSTS. 



GHOSTS. 
INTRODUCTION.* 

THE winter of 1879-80 Ibsen spent in Munich, and the 
greater part of the summer of 1880 at Berchtesgaden. 
November 1880 saw him back in Rome, and he passed the 
summer of 1881 at Sorrento. There, fourteen years ear- 
lier, he had written the last acts of Peer Gynt: there he 
now wrote, or at any rate completed, Gengangere. 

The surviving "foreworks" for this play are very 
scanty. Of the dialogue only two or three brief fragments 
remain. The longest is a sketch of the passage in which 
Oswald shocks Pastor Manders by his account of artist 
life in Paris. We possess, however, some scattered mem- 
oranda relating to the play, some of them written on the 
back of an envelope addressed to "Madame Ibsen, 75 
via Capo le Case, Citta" (that is to say, Rome). They 
run as follows: 

The piece will be like an image of life. Faith under- 
mined. But it does not do to say so. "The Asylum" 
for the sake of others. They shall be happy but this 
also is only an appearance it is all ghosts. 

One main point. She has been believing and romantic 
this is not wholly obliterated by the stand-point after- 
wards attained "It is all ghosts." 

It brings a Nemesis on the offspring to marry for ex- 
ternal reasons, even if they be religious or moral. 

* Copyright, 1906, by Charles Scribner's Sons. 
195 



196 GHOSTS 

She, the illegitimate child, may be saved by being mar- 
ried to the son but then ? 



He was in his youth dissipated and worn out; then she, 
the religiously awakened, appeared; she saved him; she 
was rich. He had wanted to marry a girl who was thought 
unworthy. He had a son in his marriage; then he re- 
turned to the girl; a daughter 



These women of to-day, ill-treated as daughters, as 
sisters, as wives, not educated according to their gifts, 
withheld from their vocation, deprived of their heritage, 
embittered in mind these it is who furnish the mothers 
of a new generation. What will be the consequence ? 

The fundamental note shall be the richly flourishing 
spiritual life among us in literature, art, etc.; and then, as 
a contrast, all humanity astray on wrong paths. 

The complete human being is no longer a natural 
product, but a product of art, as corn is, and fruit-trees, 
and the Creole race, and the higher breeds of horses and 
dogs, the vine, etc. 

The fault lies in the fact that all humanity has miscar- 
ried. When man demands to live and develop humanly, 
it is megalomania. All humanity, and most of all the 
Christians, suffer from megalomania. 



Among us we place monuments over the dead, for 
we recognise duties towards them; we allow people only 
fit for the hospital [literally, lepers] to marry: but their 
offspring ? The unborn ? 

The fourth and fifth of these six sections seem to have 
as much bearing on other plays for instance, An Enemy 



INTRODUCTION 197 

of the People, and The Lady from the Sea as on Ghosts. 
I should take them rather for general memoranda than 
for notes specially referring to this play. 

Gengangere was published in December 1881, after he 
had returned to Rome. On December 22 he wrote to 
Ludwig Passarge, one of his German translators, "My 
new play has now appeared, and has occasioned a terri- 
ble uproar in the Scandinavian press; every day I re- 
ceive letters and newspaper articles decrying or praising 
it. ... I consider it utterly impossible that any German 
theatre should accept the play at present. I hardly believe 
that they will dare to play it in the Scandinavian coun- 
tries for some time to come." How rightly he judged we 
shall see anon. 

In the newspapers there was far more obloquy than 
praise. Two men, however, stood by him from the first : 
Bjornson, from whom he had been practically estranged 
ever since The League of Youth, and George Brandes. 
The latter published an article in which he declared (I 
quote from memory) that the play might or might not be 
Ibsen's greatest work, but that it was certainly his no- 
blest deed. It was, doubtless, in acknowledgment of this 
article that Ibsen wrote to Brandes on January 3, 1882: 
"Yesterday I had the great pleasure of receiving your 
brilliantly clear and so warmly appreciative review of 
Ghosts. . . . All who read your article must, it seems to 
me, have their eyes opened to what I meant by my new 
book assuming, that is, that they have any wish to see. 
For I cannot get rid of the impression that a very large 
number of the false interpretations which have appeared 
in the newspapers are the work of people who know bet- 



198 GHOSTS 

ter. In Norway, however, I am willing to believe that 
the stultification has in most cases been unintentional; 
and the reason is not far to seek. In that country a great 
many of the critics are theologians, more or less disguised; 
and these gentlemen are, as a rule, quite unable to write 
rationally about creative literature. That enfeeblement 
of judgment which, at least in the case of the average man, 
is an inevitable consequence of prolonged occupation with 
theological studies, betrays itself more especially in the 
judging of human character, human actions, and human 
motives. Practical business judgment, on the other 
hand, does not suffer so much from studies of this order. 
Therefore the reverend gentlemen are very often ex- 
cellent members of local boards; but they are unques- 
tionably our worst critics." This passage is interesting 
as showing clearly the point of view from which Ibsen 
conceived the character of Manders. In the next para- 
graph of the same letter he discusses the attitude of "the 
so-called Liberal press"; but as the paragraph contains 
the germ of An Enemy of the People, it may most fittingly 
be quoted in the Introduction to that play. 

Three days later (January 6) Ibsen wrote to Schan- 
dorph, the Danish novelist: "I was quite prepared for 
the hubbub. If certain of our Scandinavian reviewers 
have no talent for anything else, they have an unques- 
tionable talent for thoroughly misunderstanding and 
misinterpreting those authors whose books they under- 
take to judge. . . . They endeavour to make me re- 
sponsible for the opinions which certain of the person- 
ages of my drama express. And yet there is not in the 
whole book a single opinion, a single utterance, which can 



INTRODUCTION 190 

be laid to the account of the author. I took good care 
to avoid this. The very method, the order of technique 
which imposes its form upon the play, forbids the author 
to appear in the speeches of his characters. My object 
was to make the reader feel that he was going through a 
piece of real experience; and nothing could more effectu- 
ally prevent such an impression than the intrusion of the 
author's private opinions into the dialogue. Do they 
imagine at home that I am so inexpert in the theory of 
drama as not to know this? Of course I know it, and 
act accordingly. In no other play that I have written is 
the author so external to the action, so entirely absent 
from it, as in this last one." 

"They say," he continued, "that the book preaches 
Nihilism. Not at all. It is not concerned to preach any- 
thing whatsoever. It merely points to the ferment of 
Nihilism going on under the surface, at home as elsewhere. 
A Pastor Manders will always goad one or other Mrs. 
Alving to revolt. And just because she is a woman, she 
will, when once she has begun, go to the utmost ex- 
tremes." 

Towards the end of January Ibsen wrote from Rome 
to Olaf Skavlan: "These last weeks have brought me a 
wealth of experiences, lessons, and discoveries. I of 
course foresaw that my new play would call forth a howl 
from the camp of the stagnationists; and for this I care 
no more than for the barking of a pack of chained dogs. 
But the pusillanimity which I have observed among the 
so-called Liberals has given me cause for reflection. The 
very day after my play was published, the Dagblad rushed 
out a hurriedly-written article, evidently designed to 



200 GHOSTS 

purge itself of all suspicion of complicity in my work. 
This was entirely unnecessary. I myself am responsi- 
ble for what I write, I, and no one else. I cannot possi- 
bly embarrass any party, for to no party do I belong. I 
stand like a solitary franc-tireur at the outposts, and fight 
for my own hand. The only man in Norway who has 
stood up freely, frankly, and courageously for me is Bjorn- 
sori. It is just like him. He has in truth a great, kingly 
soul, and I shall never forget his action in this matter." 

One more quotation completes the history of these 
stirring January days, as written by Ibsen himself. It oc- 
curs in a letter to a Danish journalist, Otto Borchsenius. 
"It may well be," the poet writes, "that the play is in 
several respects rather daring. But it seemed to me that 
the time had come for moving some boundary-posts. 
And this was an undertaking for which a man of the older 
generation, like myself, was better fitted than the many 
younger authors who might desire to do something of the 
kind. I was prepared for a storm; but such storms one 
must not shrink from encountering. That would be 
cowardice." 

It happened that, just in these days, the present writer 
had frequent opportunities of conversing with Ibsen, and 
of hearing from his own lips almost all the views ex- 
pressed in the above extracts. He was especially em- 
phatic, I remember, in protesting against the notion that 
the opinions expressed by Mrs. Alving of Oswald were to 
be attributed to himself. He insisted, on the contrary, 
that Mrs. Alving's views were merely typical of the moral 
chaos inevitably produced by reaction from the narrow 
conventionalism represented by Manders. 



INTRODUCTION 201 

With one consent, the leading theatres of the three 
Scandinavian capitals declined to have anything to do 
with the play. It was more than eighteen months old 
before it found its way to the stage at all. In August 
1883 it was acted for the first time at Helsingborg, Sweden, 
by a travelling company under the direction of an emi- 
nent Swedish actor, August Lindberg, who himself played 
Oswald. He took it on tour round the principal cities 
of Scandinavia, playing it, among the rest, at a minor 
theatre in Christiania. It happened that the boards of 
the Christiania Theatre were at the same time occupied 
by a French farce; and public demonstrations of protest 
were made against the managerial policy which gave 
Tete de Linotte the preference over Gengangere. Gradu- 
ally the prejudice against the play broke down. Already 
in the autumn of 1883 it was produced at the Royal (Dram- 
atiska) Theatre in Stockholm. When the new National 
Theatre was opened in Christiania in 1899, Gengangere 
found an early place in its repertory; and even the Royal 
Theatre in Copenhagen has since opened its doors to the 
tragedy. 

Not until April 1886 was Gespenster acted in Germany, 
and then only at a private performance, at the Stadt- 
theater, Augsburg, the poet himself being present. In the 
following winter it was acted at the famous Court The- 
atre at Meiningen, again in the presence of the poet. The 
first (private) performance in Berlin took place on Janu- 
ary 9, 1887, at the Residenz Theater; and when the Freie 
Biihne, founded on the model of the Paris Theatre-Libre, 
began its operations two years later (September 29, 1889), 
Gespenster was the first play that it produced. The Freie 



202 GHOSTS 

Biihne gave the initial impulse to the whole modern move- 
ment which has given Germany a new dramatic litera- 
ture; and the leaders of the movement, whether authors 
or critics, were one and all ardent disciples of Ibsen, re- 
garding Gespenster as his typical masterpiece. In Ger- 
many, then, the play certainly did, in Ibsen's own words, 
"move some boundary-posts." The Prussian censor- 
ship presently withdrew its veto, and on November 27, 
18.94, the two leading literary theatres of Berlin, the 
Deutsches Theater and the Lessing Theater, gave simul- 
taneous performances of the tragedy. Everywhere in 
Germany and Austria it is now freely performed; but it 
is naturally one of the least popular of Ibsen's plays. 

It was with Les Revenants that Ibsen made his first 
appearance on the French stage. The play was pro- 
duced by the Theatre-Libre (at the Theatre des Menus- 
Plaisirs) on May 29, 1890. Here, again, it became the 
watchword of the new school of authors and critics, and 
aroused a good deal of opposition among the old school. 
But the most hostile French criticisms were moderation 
itself compared with the torrents of abuse which were 
poured upon Ghosts by the journalists of London when, 
on March 13, 1891, the Independent Theatre, under the 
direction of Mr. J. T. Grein, gave a private performance 
of the play at the Royalty Theatre, Soho. I have else- 
where 1 placed upon record some of the amazing feats of 
vituperation achieved of the critics, and will not here recall 
them. It is sufficient to say that if the play had been a 

1 See "The Mausoleum of Ibsen," Fortnightly Review, August 
1893. See also Mr. Bernard Shaw's Quintessence of fbsenism, p. 89, 
and my introduction to Ghosts in the single-volume edition. 



INTRODUCTION 203 

tenth part as nauseous as the epithets hurled at it and its 
author, the Censor's veto would have been amply justi- 
fied. That veto is still (1911) in force. England enjoys 
the proud distinction of being the one country in the world 
where Ghosts may not be publicly acted. 

In the United States, the first performance of the play 
in English took place at the Berkeley Lyceum, New York 
City, on January 5, 1894. The production was de- 
scribed by Mr. W. D. Ho wells as "a great theatrical 
event the very greatest I have ever known." Other 
leading men of letters were equally impressed by it. Five 
years later, a second production took place at the Car- 
negie Lyceum; and an adventurous manager has even 
taken the play on tour in the United States. The Ital- 
ian version of the tragedy, Gli Spettri, has ever since 1892 
held a prominent place in the repertory of the great actors 
Zaccone and Novelli, who have acted it, not only through- 
out Italy, but in Austria, Germany, Russia, Spain, and 
South America. 

In an interview, published immediately after Ibsen's 
death, Bjornstjerne Bjornson, questioned as to what he 
held to be his brother-poet's greatest work, replied, with- 
out a moment's hesitation, Gengangere. This dictum 
can scarcely, I think, be accepted without some qualifi- 
cation. Even confining our attention to the modern 
plays, and leaving out of comparison The Pretenders, 
Brand, and Peer Gynt, we can scarcely call Ghosts Ibsen's 
richest or most human play, and certainly not his pro- 
foundest or most poetical. If some omnipotent Censor- 
ship decreed the annihilation of all his works save one, 
few people, I imagine, would vote that that one should be 



204 GHOSTS 

Ghosts. Even if half a dozen works were to be saved from 
the wreck, I doubt whether I, for my part, would include 
Ghosts in the list. It is, in my judgment, a little bare, 
hard, austere. It is the first work in which Ibsen applies 
his new technical method evolved, as I have suggested, 
during the composition of A Doll's House and he ap- 
plies it with something of fanaticism. He is under the 
sway of a prosaic ideal confessed in the phrase, "My 
object was to make the reader feel that he was going 
through a piece of real experience" and he is putting 
some constraint upon the poet within him. The action 
moves a little stiffly, and all in one rhythm. It lacks 
variety and suppleness. Moreover, the play affords some 
slight excuse for the criticism which persists in regarding 
Ibsen as a preacher rather than as a creator an author / 
who cares more for ideas and doctrines than for human 
beings. Though Mrs. Alving, Engstraod and Regina 
are rounded and breathing characters, it cannot be de- 
nied that Manders strikes one as a clerical type rather 
lhan an individual, while even Oswald might not quite 
unfairly be described as simply and solely his father's 
son, an object-lesson in heredity. We cannot be said to 
know him, individually and intimately, as we know Hel- 
mer or Stockmann, Hialmar Ekdal or Gregers Werle. 
Then, again, there are one or two curious flaws in the 
play. The question whether Oswald's "case" is one 
which actually presents itself in the medical books seems 
to me of very trifling moment. It is typically true, even 
if it be not true in detail. The suddenness of the catas- 
trophe may possibly be exaggerated, its premonitions, and 
even its essential nature, may be misdescribed. On the 



INTRODUCTION 205 

other hand, I conceive it probable that the poet had docu- 
ments to found upon, which may be unknown to his crit- 
ics. I have never taken any pains to satisfy myself upon 
the point, which seems to me quite immaterial. There 
is not the slightest doubt that the life-history of a Cap- 
tain Alving may, and often does, entail upon posterity con- 
sequences quite as tragic as those which ensue in Oswald's 
case, and far more wide-spreading. That being so, the 
artistic justification of the poet's presentment of the case/ 
is certainly not dependent on its absolute scientific ac- 
curacy. The flaws above alluded to are of another na- 
ture. One of them is the prominence given to the fact 
that the Asylum is uninsured. No doubt there is some 
symbolical purport in the circumstance; but I cannot 
think that it is either sufficiently clear or sufficiently im- 
portant to justify the emphasis thrown upon it at the end 
of the second act. Another dubious point is Oswald's 
argument in the first act as to the expensiveness of mar- 
riage as compared with free union. Since the parties to 
free union, as he describes it, accept all the responsibil- 
ities of marriage, and only pretermit" the ceremony, the 
difference of expense, one would suppose, must be neither 
more nor less than the actual marriage fee. I have never 
seen this remark of Oswald's adequately explained, either 
as a matter of economic fact, or as a trait of character. 
Another blemish, of somewhat greater moment, is the in- 
conceivable facility with which, in the third act, Manders 
suffers himself to be victimized by Engstrand. All these 
little things, taken together, detract, as it seems to me, 
from the artistic completeness of the play, and impair its 
claim to rank as the poet's masterpiece. Even in prose 



206 GHOSTS 

drama, his greatest and most consummate achievements 
were yet to come. 

Must we, then, wholly dissent from Bjornson's judg- 
ment? I think not. In a historical, if not in an aes- 
thetic, sense, Ghosts may well rank as Ibsen's greatest 
work. It was the play which first gave the full measure 
of his technical and spiritual originality and daring. It 
has done far more than any other of his plays to "move 
boundary-posts." It has advanced the frontiers of dra- 
matic art and implanted new ideals, both technical and 
intellectual, in the minds of a whole generation of play- 
wrights. It ranks with Hernajii and La Dame aux Co- 
rnelias among the epoch-making plays of the nineteenth 
century, while in point of essential originality it towers 
above them. We cannot, I think, get nearer to the truth 
than George Brandes did in the above-quoted phrase from 
his first notice of the play, describing it as not, perhaps, 
the poet's greatest work, but certainly his noblest deed. 
In another essay, Brandes has pointed to it, with equal 
justice, as marking Ibsen's final breach with his early 
one might almost say his hereditary romanticism. He 
here becomes, at last, "the most modern of the moderns." 
"This, I am convinced," says the Danish critic, "is his 
imperishable glory, and will give lasting life to his works." 



GHOSTS 

(1881) 



CHARACTERS 

MRS. HELEN ALVING, widow of Captain Alving, late Chamber- 
lain 1 to the King. 

OSWALD ALVING, her son, a painter. 
PASTOR MANDERS. 
JACOB ENGSTRAND, a carpenter. 
REGINA ENGSTRAND, Mrs. Airing's maid. 



The action takes place at Mrs. Alving' s country house, beside one 
of the large fjords in Western Norway. 

1 Chamberlain (Kammerherre) is the only title of honour now 
existing in Norway. It is a distinction conferred by the King on 
men of wealth and position, and is not hereditary. 



GHOSTS 

A FAMILY-DRAMA IN THREE ACTS 

ACT FIRST 

A spacious garden-room, with one door to the left, and 
two doors to the right. In the middle of the room a 
round table, with chairs about it. On the table lie 
books, periodicals, and newspapers. In the fore- 
ground to the left a window, and by it a small sofa, 
with a work-table in front of it. In the background, 
the room is continued into a somewhat narrower con- 
servatory, the walls of which are formed by large 
panes of glass. In the right-liand wall of the con- 
servatory is a door leading down into the garden. 
Through the glass wall a gloomy fjord-landscape is 
faintly visible, veiled by steady rain. 

ENGSTRAND, the carpenter, stands by the garden door. 
His left leg is somewhat bent; he has a clump of 
wood under the sole of his boot. REGINA, with an 
empty garden syringe in her hand, hinders him from 
advancing. 

REGINA. 

[In a low voice.] What do you want? Stop where 
you are. You're positively dripping. 

ENGSTRAND. 

It's the Lord's own rain, my girl. 

209 



210 GHOSTS [ACT i 

REGINA. 
It's the devil's rain, / say. 

ENGSTRAND. 

Lord, how you talk, Regina. [Limps a step or two for- 
ward into the room.] It's just this as I wanted to say 

REGINA. 

Don't clatter so with that foot of yours, I tell you! 
The young master's asleep upstairs. 

ENGSTRAND. 
Asleep ? In the middle of the day ? 

REGINA. 
It's no business of yours. 

ENGSTRAND. 
I was out on the loose last night 

REGINA. 
I can quite believe that. 

ENGSTRAND. 
Yes, we're weak vessels, we poor mortals, my girl 

REGINA. 
So it seems. 

ENGSTRAND. 

and temptations are manifold in this world, you 

see. But all the same, I was hard at work, God knows, 
at half-past five this morning. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 211 

REGINA. 

Very well; only be off now. I won't stop here and 
have rendezvous's 1 with you. 

ENGSTRAND. 
What do you say you won't have ? 

REGINA. 

I won't have any one find you here; so just you go 
about your business. 

ENGSTRAND. 

[Advances a step or two.] Blest if I go before I've had 
&, talk with you. This afternoon I shall have finished my 
work at the school-house, and then I shall take to-night's 
boat and be off home to the town. 

REGINA. 
[Mutters.] Pleasant journey to you! 

ENGSTRAND. 

Thank you, my child. To-morrow the Orphanage is 
to be opened, and then there'll be fine doings, no doubt, 
and plenty of intoxicating drink going, you know. And 
nobody shall say of Jacob Engstrand that he can't keep 
out of temptation's way. 

REGINA. 
Oh! 

1 This and other French words used by Regina are in that lan- 
guage in the original. 



212 GHOSTS [ACT i 

ENGSTRAND. 

You see, there's to be heaps of grand folks here to- 
morrow. Pastor Manders is expected from town, too. 

REGINA. 
He's coming to-day. 

ENGSTRAND. 

There, you see! And I should be cursedly sorry if he 
found out anything against me, don't you understand? 

REGINA. 
Oho! is that your game? 

ENGSTRAND. 
Is what my game ? 

REGINA. 

[Looking hard at him.] What are you going to fool 
Pastor Manders into doing, this time? 

ENGSTRAND. 

Sh! sh! Are you crazy? Do / want to fool Pastor 
Manders? Oh, no! Pastor Manders has been far too 
good a friend to me for that. But I just wanted to say, 
you know that I mean to be off home again to-night. 

REGINA. 
The sooner the better, say I. 

ENGSTRAND. 
Yes, but I want you with me, Regina. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 213 

REGINA. 

[Open-mouthed.] You want me ? What are you 

talking about? 

ENGSTRAND. 
I want you to come home with me, I say. 

REGINA. 

[Scornfully.] Never in this world shall you get me 
home with you. 

ENGSTRAND. 
Oh, we'll see about that. 

REGINA. 

Yes, you may be sure we'll see about it! Me, that 
have been brought up by a lady like Mrs. Alving! Me, 
that am treated almost as a daughter here ! Is it m e you 
want to go home with you ? to a house like yours ? For 
shame! 

ENGSTRAND. 

What the devil do you mean ? Do you set yourself up 
against your father, you hussy ? 

REGINA. 

[Mutters without looking at him.] You've said often 
enough I was no concern of yours. 

ENGSTRAND. 
Pooh! Why should you bother about that 



214 GHOSTS [ACT i 

REGINA. 

Haven't you many a time sworn at me and called me 
a ? Fi done! 

ENGSTRAND. 
Curse me, now, if ever I used such an ugly word. 

REGINA. 
Oh, I remember very well what word you used. 

ENGSTRAND. 

Well, but that was only when I was a bit on, don't 
you know? Temptations are manifold in this world, 
Regina. 

REGINA. 
Ugh! 

ENGSTRAND. 

And besides, it was when your mother was that ag- 
gravating I had to find something to twit her with, 
my child. She was always setting up for a fine lady. 
[Mimics.] " Let me go, Engstrand; let me be. Remem- 
ber I was three years in Chamberlain Alving's family at 
Rosen void." [Laughs.] Mercy on us! She could never 
forget that the Captain was made a Chamberlain while 
she was in service here. 

REGINA. 

Poor mother! you very soon tormented her into her 
grave. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 215 

ENGSTRAND. 

[With a twist of his shoulders.] Oh, of course! I'm 
to have the blame for everything. 

REGINA. 

[Turns away; half aloud.] Ugh ! And that leg 

too! 

ENGSTRAND. 
What do you say, my child ? 

REGINA. 
Pied de mouton. 

ENGSTRAND. 
Is that English, eh ? 

REGINA. 
Yes. 

ENGSTRAND. 

Ay, ay; you've picked up some learning out here; 
and that may come in useful now, Regina. 

REGINA. 

[After a short silence.] What do you want with me in 
town? 

ENGSTRAND. 

Can you ask what a father wants with his only child ? 
A'n't I a lonely, forlorn widower ? 

REGINA. 

Oh, don't try on any nonsense like that with m e ! 
Why do you want me ? 



216 GHOSTS [ACT i 

ENGSTRAND. 

Well, let me tell you, I've been thinking of setting up 
in a new line of business. 

REGINA. 

[Contemptuously.] You've tried that often enough, and 
much good you've done with it. 

ENGSTRAND. 

Yes, but this time you shall see, Regina! Devil take 

me - 

REGINA. 
[Stamps.] Stop your swearing! 

ENGSTRAND. 

Hush, hush; you're right enough there, my girl. 
What I wanted to say was just this I've laid by a very 
tidy pile from this Orphanage job. 

REGINA. 
Have you ? That's a good thing for you. 

ENGSTRAND. 

What can a man spend his ha'pence on here in this 
country hole ? 

REGINA. 
Well, what then ? 

ENGSTRAND. 

Why, you see, I thought of putting the money into 
some paying speculation. I thought of a sort of a sailor's 
tavern 



ACT i] GHOSTS 217 

REGINA. 
Pah! 

ENGSTRAND. 

A regular high-class affair, of course; not any sort of 
pig-sty for common sailors. No! damn it! it would be 
for captains and mates, and and regular swells, you 
know. 

REGINA. 

And I was to ? 

ENGSTRAND. 

You were to help, to be sure. Only for the look of 
the thing, you understand. Devil a bit of hard work 
shall you have, my girl. You shall do exactly what you 
like. 

REGINA. 
Oh, indeed! 

ENGSTRAND. 

But there must be a petticoat in the house; that's as 
clear as daylight. For I want to have it a bit lively-like 
in the evenings, with singing and dancing, and so on. 
You must remember they're weary wanderers on the 
ocean of life. [Nearer.] Now don't be a fool and stand 
in your own light, Regina. What's to become of you 
out here ? Your mistress has given you a lot of learning; 
but what good is that to you ? You're to look after 
the children at the new Orphanage, I hear. Is that 
the sort of thing for you, eh? Are you so dead set on 
wearing your life out for a pack of dirty brats ? 

REGINA. 

No; if things go as I want them to Well there's 

no saying there's no saying. 



218 GHOSTS [ACT i 

ENGSTRAND. 
What do you mean by "there's no saying"? 

REGINA. 
Never you mind. How much money have you saved ? 

ENGSTRAND. 

What with one thing and another, a matter of seven or 
eight hundred crowns. 1 

REGINA. 
That's not so bad. 

ENGSTRAND. 
It's enough to make a start with, my girl. 

REGINA. 
Aren't you thinking of giving me any ? 

ENGSTRAND. 
No, I'm blest if I am! 

REGINA. 

Not even of sending me a scrap of stuff for a new 
dress ? 

ENGSTRAND. 

Come to town with me, my lass, and you'll soon get 
dresses enough. 

REGINA. 

Pooh! I can do that on my own account, if I want to. 
1 A "krone" is equal to one shilling and three-halfpence. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 219 

ENGSTRAND. 

No, a father's guiding hand is what you want, Regina. 
Now, I've got my eye on a capital house in Little Har- 
bour Street. They don't want much ready-money; and 
it could be a sort of a Sailors' Home, you know. 

REGINA. 

But I will not live with you ! I have nothing what- 
ever to do with you. Be off! 

ENGSTRAND. 

You wouldn't stop long with me, my girl. No such 
luck! If you knew how to play your cards, such a fine 
figure of a girl as you've grown in the last year or two 

REGINA. 
Well? 

ENGSTRAND. 

You'd soon get hold of some mate or maybe even a 
captain 

REGINA. 

I won't marry any one of that sort. Sailors have no 
savoir vivre. 

ENGSTRAND. 
What's that they haven't got? 

REGINA. 

I know what sailors are, I tell you. They're not the 
sort of people to marry. 



220 GHOSTS [ACT i 

ENGSTRAND. 

Then never mind about marrying them. You can 
make it pay all the same. [More confidentially.] He 
the Englishman the man with the yacht he came 
down with three hundred dollars, he did; and she wasn't 
a bit handsomer than you. 

REGINA. 
[Making for him.] Out you go! 

ENGSTRAND. 

[Falling back] Come, come! You're not going to hit 
me, I hope. 

REGINA. 

Yes, if you begin talking about mother I shall hit you. 
Get away with you, I say! [Drives him back towards the 
garden door] And don't slam the doors. Young Mr. 
Alving 

ENGSTRAND. 

He's asleep ; I know. You're mightily taken up about 

young Mr. Alving [More softly] Oho! you don't 

mean to say it's h i m as ? 

REGINA. 

Be off this minute ! You're crazy, I tell you! No, not 
that way. There comes Pastor Manders. Down the 
kitchen stairs with you. 

ENGSTRAND. 

[Towards the right.] Yes, yes, I'm going. But just 
you talk to him as is coming there. He's the man to 



ACT i] GHOSTS 2S1 

tell you what a child owes its father. For lam your 
father all the same, you know. I can prove it from the 
church register. 

[He goes out through the second door to the right, 
which REGINA has opened, and closes again after 
him. REGINA glances hastily at herself in the mir- 
ror, dusts herself with her pocket handkerchief, and 
settles her necktie; then she busies herself with the 
flowers. 

PASTOR M ANDERS, wearing an overcoat, carrying an 
umbrella, and with a small travelling-bag on a strap 
over his shoulder, comes through the garden door into 
the conservatory. 

MANDERS. 
Good-morning, Miss Engstrand. 

REGINA. 

[Turning round, surprised and pleased.] No, really! 
Good-morning, Pastor Manders. Is the steamer in al- 
ready ? 

MANDERS. 

It is just in. [Enters the sitting-room.] Terrible 
weather we have been having lately. 

REGINA. 

[Follows him.] It's such blessed weather for the coun- 
try, sir. 

MANDERS. 

No doubt; you are quite right. We townspeople give 
too little thought to that. 

[He begins to take off his overcoat. 



222 GHOSTS [ACT i 

REGINA. 

Oh, mayn't I help you? There! Why, how wet it 
is! I'll just hang it up in the hall. And your um- 
brella, too I'll open it and let it dry. 

[She goes out with the things through the second door 
on the right. PASTOR MANDERS takes off his 
travelling-bag and lays it and his hat on a chair. 
Meanwhile REGINA comes in again. 

MANDERS. 

Ah, it's a comfort to get safe under cover. I hope 
everything is going on well here? 

REGINA. 
Yes, thank you, sir. 

MANDERS. 

You have your hands full, I suppose, in preparation 
for to-morrow? 

REGINA. 
Yes, there's plenty to do, of course. 

MANDERS. 
And Mrs. Alving is at home, I trust? 

REGINA. 

Oh dear, yes. She's just upstairs, looking after the 
young master's chocolate. 

MANDERS. 

Yes, by-the-bye I heard down at the pier that Oswald 
had arrived. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 223 

REGINA. 

Yes, he came the day before yesterday. We didn't 
expect him before to-day. 

MANDERS. 
Quite strong and well, I hope? 

REGINA. 

Yes, thank you, quite; but dreadfully tired with the 
journey. He has made one rush right through from 
Paris the whole way in one train, I believe. He's 
sleeping a little now, I think; so perhaps we'd better 
talk a little quietly. 

MANDEIIS. 
Sh! as quietly as you please. 

REGINA. 

[Arranging an arm-chair beside the table.] Now, do 
sit down, Pastor Manders, and make yourself comfort- 
able. [He sits down; she places a footstool under his 
feet.] There! Are you comfortable now, sir? 

MANDERS. 

Thanks, thanks, extremely so. [Looks at her.] Do 
you know, Miss Engstrand, I positively believe you have 
grown since I last saw you. 

REGINA. 

Do you think so, sir? Mrs. Alving says I've filled 
out too. 



224 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MANDERS. 

Filled out? Well, perhaps a little; just enough. 

[Short pause. 
REGINA. 

Shall I tell Mrs. Alving you are here ? 

MANDERS. 

Thanks, thanks, there is no hurry, my dear child. 
By-the-bye, Regina, my good girl, tell me: how is your 
father getting on out here ? 

REGINA. 
Oh, thank you, sir, he's getting on well enough. 

MANDERS. 
He called upon me last time he was in town. 

REGINA. 

Did he, indeed? He's always so glad of a chance of 
talking to you, sir. 

MANDERS. 

And you often look in upon him at his work, I dare- 
say? 

REGINA. 
I ? Oh, of course, when I have time, I 

MANDERS. 

Your father is not a . man of strong character, Miss 
Engstrand. He stands terribly in need of a guiding hand. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 225 

REGINA. 
Oh, yes; I daresay he does. 

MANDERS. 

He requires some one near him whom he cares for, 
and whose judgment he respects. He frankly admitted 
as much when he last came to see me. 

REGINA. 

Yes, he mentioned something of the sort to me. But 
I don't know whether Mrs. Alving can spare me; espe- 
cially now that we've got the new Orphanage to attend 
to. And then I should be so sorry to leave Mrs. Alving; 
she has always been so kind to me. 

MANDERS. 

But a daughter's duty, my good girl Of course, 

we should first have to get your mistress's consent. 

REGINA. 

But I don't know whether it would be quite proper for 
me, at my age, to keep house for a single man. 

MANDERS. 

What! My dear Miss Engstrand! When the man is 
your own father! 

REGINA. 

Yes, that may be; but all the same Now, if it 

were in a thoroughly nice house, and with a real 
gentleman 



226 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MANDERS. 
Why, my dear Regina 

REGINA. 

one I could love and respect, and be a daughter 
to 

MANDERS. 
Yes, but my dear, good child 



REGINA. 

Then I should be glad to go to town. It's very lonely 
out here; you know yourself, sir, what it is to be alone in 
the world. And I can assure you I'm both quick and 
willing. Don't you know of any such place for me, sir ? 

MANDERS. 
I? No, certainly not. 

REGINA. 
But, dear, dear sir, do remember me if 

MANDERS. 
[Rising.] Yes, yes, certainly, Miss Engstrand. 

REGINA. 
For if I- 

MANDERS. 
Will you be so good as to tell your mistress I am here ? 



ACT i] GHOSTS 227 

REGINA. 

I will, at once, sir. [She goes out to the left. 

MANDERS. 

[Paces the room two or three times, stands a moment in 
the background with his hands behind his back, and looks 
out over the garden. Then he returns to the table, takes 
up a book, and looks at the title-page; starts, and looks at 
several books.] Ha indeed! 

MRS. ALVING enters by the door on the left; she is followed 
by REGINA, who immediately goes out by thejirst door 
on the right. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Holds out her hand.] Welcome, my dear Pastor. 

MANDERS. 

How do you do, Mrs. Alving ? Here I am as I prom- 
ised. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Always punctual to the minute. 

MANDERS. 

You may believe it was not so easy for me to get away. 
With all the Boards and Committees I belong to 

MRS. ALVING. 

That makes it all the kinder of you to come so early. 
Now we can get through our business before dinner. 
But where is your portmanteau ? 



228 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MANDERS. 

[Quickly.] I left it down at the inn. I shall sleep 
there to-night. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Suppressing a smile.] Are you really not to be per- 
suaded, even now, to pass the night under my roof ? 

MANDERS. 

No. no, Mrs. Alving; many thanks. I shall stay at 
the inn, as usual. It is so conveniently near the land- 
ing-stage. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Well, you must have your own way. But I really 
should have thought we two old people 

MANDERS. 

Now you are making fun of me. Ah, you're naturally 
in great spirits to-day what with to-morrow's festival 
and Oswald's return. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes; you can think what a delight it is to me! It's 
more than two years since he was home last. And now 
he has promised to stay with me all the winter. 

MANDERS. 

Has he really ? That is very nice and dutiful of him. 
For I can well believe that life in Rome and Paris has 
very different attractions from any we can offer here. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 229 

MRS. ALVING. 

Ah, but here he has his mother, you see. My own 
darling boy he hasn't forgotten his old mother! 

MANDERS. 

It would be grievous indeed, if absence and absorp- 
tion in art and that sort of thing were to blunt his natural 
feelings. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes, you may well say so. But there's nothing of 
that sort to fear with him. I'm quite curious to see 
whether you know him again. He'll be down presently; 
he's upstairs just now, resting a little on the sofa. But 
do sit down, my dear Pastor. 

MANDERS. 
Thank you. Are you quite at liberty ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Certainly. [She sits by the table. 

MANDERS. 

Very well. Then let me show you [He goes to 

the chair where his travelling-bag lies, takes out a packet 
of papers, sits down on the opposite side of the table, and 
tries to find a clear space for the papers.] Now, to begin 

with, here is [Breaking off.] Tell me, Mrs. Alving, 

how do these books come to be here? 

MRS. ALVING. 
These books ? They are books I am reading. 



230 GHOSTS IACT i 

MANDERS. 
Do you read this sort of literature? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Certainly I do. 

MANDERS. 
Do you feel better or happier for such reading? 

MRS. ALVING. 
I feel, so to speak, more secure. 

MANDERS. 
That is strange. How do you mean ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Well, I seem to find explanation and confirmation of 
all sorts of things I myself have been thinking. For 
that is the wonderful part of it, Pastor Manders there is 
really nothing new in these books, nothing but what most 
people think and believe. Only most people either don't 
formulate it to themselves, or else keep quiet about it. 

MANDERS. 

Great heavens! Do you really believe that most 
people ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
I do,' indeed. 

MANDERS. 
But surely not in this country ? Not here among us ? 



ACT i] GHOSTS 231 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, certainly; here as elsewhere. 

MANDERS. 
Well, I really must say ! 

MRS. ALVING. 
For the rest, what do you object to in these books ? 

MANDERS. 

Object to in them? You surely do not suppose that 
I have nothing better to do than to study such publica- 
tions as these? 

MRS. ALVING. 

That is to say, you know nothing of what you are con- 
demning ? 

MANDERS. 

I have read enough about these writings to disap- 
prove of them. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes; but your own judgment 

MANDERS. 

My dear Mrs. Alving, there are many occasions in life 
when one must rely upon others. Things are so ordered 
in this world; and it is well that they are. Otherwise, 
what would become of society ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Well, well, I daresay you're right there. 



232 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MANDERS. 

Besides, I of course do not deny that there may be 
much that is attractive in such books. Nor can I blame 
you for wishing to keep up with the intellectual move- 
ments that are said to be going on in the great world 
where you have let your son pass so much of his life. 
But 

MRS. ALVING. 
But? 

MANDERS. 

[Lowering his voice.] But one should not talk about 
it, Mrs. Alving. One is certainly not bound to account 
to everybody for what one reads and thinks within one's 
own four walls. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Of course not; I quite agree with you. 

MANDERS. 

Only think, now, how you are bound to consider tbe 
interests of this Orphanage, which you decided on found- 
ing at a time when if I understand you rightly you 
thought very differently on spiritual matters. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Oh, yes; I quite admit that. But it was about the 
Orphanage 

MANDERS. 

It was about the Orphanage we were to speak; yes. 
All I say is: prudence, my dear lady! And now let us 
get to business. [Opens the packet, and takes out a num- 
ber of papers.] Do you see these ? 



ACT i] GHOSTS 233 

MRS. ALVING. 
The documents ? 

MANDERS. 

All and in perfect order. I can tell you it was hard 
work to get them in time. I had to put on strong pres- 
sure. The authorities are almost morbidly scrupulous 
when there is any decisive step to be taken. But here 
they are at last. [Looks through the bundle.] See! here 
is the formal deed of gift of the parcel of ground known 
as Solvik in the Manor of Rosen void, with all the newly 
constructed buildings, schoolrooms, master's house, and 
chapel. And here is the legal fiat for the endowment 
and for the Bye-laws of the Institution. Will you look at 
them ? [Reads.] " Bye-laws for the Children's Home to 
be known as * Captain Alving's Foundation.' " 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Looks long at the paper.] So there it is. 

MANDERS. 

I have chosen the designation "Captain" rather than 
" Chamberlain." " Captain " looks less pretentious. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oh, yes; just as you think best. 

MANDERS. 

And here you have the Bank Account of the capital 
lying at interest to cover the current expenses of the 
Orphanage. 



234 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MRS. ALVIXG. 

Thank you; but please keep it it will be more con- 
venient. 

MANDERS. 

With pleasure. I think we will leave the money in 
the Bank for the present. The interest is certainly not 
what we could wish four per cent, and six months' 
notice of withdrawal. If a good mortgage could be 
found later on of course it must be a first mortgage 
and an unimpeachable security then we could con- 
sider the matter. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Certainly, my dear Pastor Manders. You are the 
best judge in these things. 

MANDERS. 

I will keep my eyes open at any rate. But now there 
is one thing more which I have several times been in- 
tending to ask you. 

MRS. ALVING. 
And what is that? 

MANDERS. 
Shall the Orphanage buildings be insured or not? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Of course they must be insured. 

MANDERS. 

Well, wait a moment, Mrs. Alving. Let us look into 
the matter a little more closelv. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 235 

MRS. ALVING. 

I have everything insured; buildings and movables 
and stock and crops. 

MANDERS. 

Of course you have on your own" estate. And so 
have I of course. But here, you see, it is quite an- 
other matter. The Orphanage is tc be consecrated, as 
it were, to a higher purpose. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, but that's no reason 

MANDERS. 

For my own part, I should certainly not see the small- 
est impropriety in guarding against all contingencies 

MRS. ALVING. 
No, I should think not. 

MANDERS. 

But what is the general feeling in the neighbourhood ? 
You, of course, know better than I. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Well the general feeling 

MANDERS. 

Is there any considerable number of people really 
responsible people who might be scandalised ? 



236 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MRS. ALVING. 
What do you mean by " really responsible people " ? 

MANDERS. 

Well, I mean people in such independent and influen- 
tial positions that one cannot help attaching some weight 
to their opinions. 

MRS. ALVING. 

There are several people of that sort here, who would 
very likely be shocked if 

MANDERS. 

There, you see! In town we have many such people. 
Think of all my colleague's adherents! People would 
be only too ready to interpret our action as a sign that 
neither you nor I had the right faith in a Higher Provi- 
dence. 

MRS. ALVING. 

But for your own part, my dear Pastor, you can at 
least tell yourself that 

MANDERS. 

Yes, I know I know; my conscience would be quite 
easy, that is true enough. But nevertheless we should 
not escape grave misinterpretation; and that might very 
likely react unfavourably upon the Orphanage. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Well, in that case 



ACT i] GHOSTS 237 

MANDERS. 

Nor can I entirely lose sight of the difficult I may 
even say painful position in which I might perhaps be 
placed. In the leading circles of the town, people take 
a lively interest in this Orphanage. It is, of course, 
founded partly for the benefit of the town, as well; and 
it is to be hoped it will, to a considerable extent, result 
in lightening our Poor Rates. Now, as I have been 
your adviser, and have had the business arrangements in 
my hands, I cannot but fear that I may have to bear the 
brunt of fanaticism 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oh, you mustn't run the risk of that. 

MANDERS. 

To say nothing of the attacks that would assuredly 
be made upon me in certain papers and periodicals, 
which 

MRS. ALVING. 

Enough, my dear Pastor Manders. That considera- 
tion is quite decisive. 

MANDERS. 
Then you do not wish the Orphanage to be insured ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
No. We will let it alone. 

MANDERS. 

[Leaning back in his chair.] But if, now, a disaster 

were to happen ? One can never tell Should you 

be able to make good the damage? 



238 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MRS. ALVING. 
No; I tell you plainly I should do nothing of the kind. 

MANDERS. 

Then I must tell you, Mrs. Alving we are taking no 
small responsibility upon ourselves. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Do you think we can do otherwise ? 

MANDERS. 

No, that is just the point; we really cannot do other- 
wise. We ought not to expose ourselves to misinterpre- 
tation; and we have no right whatever to give offence to 
the weaker brethren. 

MRS. ALVING. 
You, as a clergyman, certainly should not. 

MANDERS. 

I really think, too, we may trust that such an institu- 
tion has fortune on its side; in fact, that it stands under 
a special providence. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Let us hope so, Pastor Manders. 

MANDERS. 
Then we will let it take its chance ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, certainly. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 239 

MANDERS. 

Very well. So be it. [Makes a note.] Then no in- 
surance. 

MBS. ALVING. 

It's odd that you should just happen to mention the 
matter to-day 

MANDERS. 
I have often thought of asking you about it 

MRS. ALVING. 
for we very nearly had a fire down there yesterday. 

MANDERS. 
You don't say so! 

MRS. ALVING. 

Oh, it was a trifling matter. A heap of shavings had 
caught fire in the carpenter's workshop. 

MANDERS. 
Where Engstrand works ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes. They say he's often very careless with matches. 

MANDERS. 

He has so much on his mind, that man so many 
things to fight against. Thank God, he is now striving 
to lead a decent life, I hear. 



240 GHOSTS [ACT I 

MRS. ALVINQ. 
Indeed! Who says so? 

MANDERS. 

He himself assures me of it. And he is certainly a 
capital workman. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oh, yes; so long as he's sober 

. MANDERS. 

Ah, that melancholy weakness! But he is often driven 
to it by his injured leg, he says. Last time he was in 
town I was really touched by him. He came and 
thanked me so warmly for having got him work here, so 
that he might be near Regina. 

MRS. ALVING. 
He doesn't see much of h e r. 

MANDERS. 

Oh, yes; he has a talk with her every day. He told 
me so himself. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Well, it may be so. 

MANDERS. 

He feels so acutely that he needs some one to keep a 
firm hold on him when temptation comes. That is what 
I cannot help liking about Jacob Engstrand: he comes 
to you so helplessly, accusing himself and confessing his 



ACT i] GHOSTS 241 

own weakness. The last time he was talking to me 

Believe me, Mrs. Alving, supposing it were a real neces- 
sity for him to have Regina home again 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Rising hastily.] Regina! 

MANDERS. 
you must not set yourself against it. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Indeed I shall set myself against it. And besides 
Regina is to have a position in the Orphanage. 

MANDERS. 
But, after all, remember he is her father 

MRS. ALVING. 

Oh, I know very well what sort of a father he has been 
to her. No! She shall never go to him with m y good- 
will. 

MANDERS. 

[Rising.] My dear lady, don't take the matter so 
warmly. You sadly misjudge poor Engstrand. You 
seem to be quite terrified 

MRS. ALVING. 

[More quietly.] It makes no difference. I have taken 
Regina into my house, and there she shall stay. [Listens.] 
Hush, my dear Mr. Manders ; say no more about it. [Her 



242 GHOSTS [ACT i 

face lights up with gladness.] Listen! there is Oswald 
coming downstairs. Now we'll think of no one but him. 

OSWALD ALVING, in a light overcoat, hat in hand, and 
smoking a large meerschaum, enters by the door on 
the left; he stops in the doorway. 

OSWALD. 

Oh, I beg your pardon; I thought you were in the 
study. [Comes forward.] Good-morning, Pastor Man- 
ders. 

MANDERS. 
[Staring.] Ah ! How strange ! 

MRS. ALVING. 
Well now, what do you think of him, Mr. Manders ? 

MANDERS. 
I I can it really be ? 

OSWALD. 
Yes, it's really the Prodigal Son, sir. 

MANDERS. 
[Protesting.] My dear young friend 

OSWALD. 
Well, then, the Lost Sheep Found. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Oswald is thinking of the time when you were so 
much opposed to his becoming a painter. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 243 

MANDERS. 

To our human eyes many a step seems dubious, which 

afterwards proves [Wrings his hand.] But first of 

all, welcome, welcome home! Do not think, my dear 
Oswald I suppose I may call you by your Christian 
name? 

OSWALD. 
What else should you call me? 

MANDERS. 

Very good. What I wanted to say was this, my dear 
Oswald you must not think that I utterly condemn the 
artist's calling. I have no doubt there are many who 
can keep their inner self unharmed in that profession, as 
in any other. 

OSWALD. 
Let us hope so. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Beaming with delight.] I know one who has kept 
both his inner and his outer self unharmed. Just look 
at him, Mr. Manders. 

OSWALD. 

[Moves restlessly about the room.] Yes, yes, my dear 
mother; let's say no more about it. 

MANDERS. 

Why, certainly that is undeniable. And you have 
begun to make a name for yourself already. The news- 
papers have often spoken of you, most favourably. Just 



2-14 GHOSTS [ACT i 

lately, by-the-bye, I fancy I haven't seen your name 
quite so often. 

OSWALD. 

[Up in the conservatory.] I haven't been able to paint 
so much lately. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Even a painter needs a little rest now and then. 

MANDERS. 

No doubt, no doubt. And meanwhile he can be pre- 
paring himself and mustering his forces for some great 
work. 

OSWALD. 
Yes. Mother, will dinner soon be ready? 

MRS. ALVING. 

In less than half an hour. He has a capital appetite, 
thank God. 

MANDERS. 
And a taste for tobacco, too. 

OSWALD. 
I found my father's pipe in my room 

MANDERS. 
Aha then that accounts for it! 

MRS. ALVING. 
For what ? 



ACT i] GHOSTS 245 

MANDERS. 

When Oswald appeared there, in the doorway, with 
the pipe in his mouth, I could have sworn I saw his father, 
large as life. 

OSWALD. 
No, really? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oh, how can you say so? Oswald takes after me. 

MANDERS. 

Yes, but there is an expression about the corners of 
the mouth something about the lips that reminds one 
exactly of Alving: at any rate, now that he is smoking. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Not in the least. Oswald has rather a clerical curve 
about his mouth, I think. 

MANDERS. 

Yes, yes; some of my colleagues have much the same 
expression. 

MRS. ALVING. 

But put your pipe away, my dear boy; I won't have 
smoking in here. 

OSWALD. 

[Does so.] By all means. I only wanted to try it; for 
I once smoked it when I was a child. 

MRS. ALVING. 
You? 



246 GHOSTS [ACT i 

OSWALD. 

Yes. I was quite small at the time. I recollect I 
came up to father's room one evening when he was in 
great spirits. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oh, you can't recollect anything of those times. 

OSWALD. 

Yes, I recollect it distinctly. He took me on his knee, 
and gave me the pipe. "Smoke, boy," he said; "smoke 
away, boy!" And I smoked as hard as I could, until I 
felt I was growing quite pale, and the perspiration stood 
in great drops on my forehead. Then he burst out 
laughing heartily 

MANDERS. 
That was most extraordinary. 

MRS. ALVING. 

My dear friend, it's only something Oswald has 
dreamt. 

OSWALD. 

No, mother, I assure you I didn't dream it. For 
don't you remember this ? you came and carried me 
out into the nursery. Then I was sick, and I saw that 
you were crying. Did father often play such practical 
jokes ? 

MANDERS. 
In his youth he overflowed with the joy of life 



ACT i] GHOSTS 247 

OSWALD. 

And yet he managed to do so much in the world; so 
much that was good and useful; although he died so 
early. 

MANDERS. 

Yes, you have inherited the name of an energetic and 
admirable man, my dear Oswald Alving. No doubt it 
will be an incentive to you 

OSWALD. 
It ought to, indeed. 

MANDERS. 

It was good of you to come home for the ceremony in 
his honour. 

OSWALD. 
I could do no less for my father. 

MRS. ALVING. 
And I am to keep him so long! That is the best of all. 

MANDERS. 
You are going to pass the winter at home, I hear. 

OSWALD. 

My stay is indefinite, sir. But, ah! it is good to be at 
home! 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Beaming.] Yes, isn't it, dear? 



248 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MANDERS. 

[Looking sympathetically at him.] You went out into 
the world early, my dear Oswald. 

OSWALD. 

I did. I sometimes wonder whether it wasn't too 
early. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Oh, not at all. A healthy lad is all the better for it; 
especially when he's an only child. He oughtn't to hang 
on at home with his mother and father, and get spoilt. 

MANDERS. 

That is a very disputable point, Mrs. Alving. A 
child's proper place is, and must be, the home of his 
fathers. 

OSWALD. 
There I quite agree with you, Pastor Manders. 

MANDERS. 

Only look at your own son there is no reason why 
we should not say it in his presence what has the con- 
sequence been for him ? He is six or seven and twenty, 
and has never had the opportunity of learning what a 
well-ordered home really is. 

OSWALD. 

I beg your pardon, Pastor; there you're quite mis- 
taken. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 249 

MANDERS. 

Indeed? I thought you had lived almost exclusively 
in artistic circles. 

OSWALD. 
So I have. 

MANDERS. 
And chiefly among the younger artists? 

OSWALD. 
Yes, certainly. 

MANDERS. 

But I thought few of those young fellows could afford 
to set up house and support a family. 

OSWALD. 
There are many who cannot afford to marry, sir. 

MANDERS. 
Yes, that is just what I say. 

OSWALD. 

But they may have a home for all that. And several 
of them have, as a matter of fact; and very pleasant, 
well-ordered homes they are, too. 

[MRS. ALVING follows with breathless interest; nods, 
but says nothing. 

MANDERS. 

But I'm not talking of bachelors' quarters. By a 
"home" I understand the home of a family, where a 
man lives with his wife and children. 



250 GHOSTS 

OSWALD. 
Yes; or with his children and his children's mother. 

MANDERS. 
[Starts; clasps his hands.] But, good heavens 



OSWALD. 
Well? 

MANDERS. 
Lives with his children's motherl 

OSWALD. 

Yes. Would you have him turn his children's mother 
out of doors ? 

MANDERS. 

Then it is illicit relations you are talking of! Irregu- 
lar manages, as people call them! 

OSWALD. 

I have never noticed anything particularly irregular 
about the life these people lead. 

MANDERS. 

But how is it possible that a a young man or young 
woman with any decency of feeling can endure to live in 
that way ? in the eyes of all the world ! 

OSWALD. 

What are they to do? A poor young artist a poor 
girl marriage costs a great deal. What are they to do ? 



ACT i] GHOSTS 251 

MANDERS. 

What are they to do? Let me tell you, Mr. Alving, 
what they ought to do. They ought to exercise self- 
restraint from the first; that is what they ought to do. 

OSWALD. 

That doctrine will scarcely go down with warm- 
blooded young people who love each other. 

MRS. ALVING. 
No, scarcely! 

MANDERS. 

[Continuing.] How can the authorities tolerate such 
things! Allow them to go on in the light of day! [Con- 
fronting MRS. ALVING.] Had I not cause to be deeply 
concerned about your son ? In circles where open im- 
morality prevails, and has even a sort of recognised 
position ! 

OSWALD. 

Let me tell you, sir, that I have been in the habit of 
spending nearly all my Sundays in one or two such ir- 
regular homes 

MANDERS. 
Sundays of all days! 

OSWALD. 

Isn't that the day to enjoy one's self? Well, never 
have I heard an offensive word, and still less have I wit- 
nessed anything that could be called immoral. No; do 
you know when and where I have come across immoral- 
ity in artistic circles ? 



252 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MANDERS. 
No, thank heaven, I don't! 

OSWALD. 

Well, then, allow me to inform you. I have met with 
it when one or other of our pattern husbands and fathers 
has come to Paris to have a look round on his own ac- 
count, and has done the artists the honour of visiting 
their humble haunts. They knew what was what. 
These gentlemen could tell us all about places and things 
we had never dreamt of. 

MANDERS. 

What! Do you mean to say that respectable men 
from home here would ? 

OSWALD. 

Have you never heard these respectable men, when 
they got home again, talking about the way in which 
immorality runs rampant abroad ? 

MANDERS. 
Yes, no doubt 

MRS. ALVING. 
I have too. 

OSWALD. 

Well, you may take their word for it. They know 
what they are talking about! [Presses his hands to his 
head.] Oh! that that great, free, glorious life out there 
should be defiled in such a way! 



ACT i] GHOSTS 253 

MRS. ALVING. 

You mustn't get excited, Oswald. It's not good for 
you. 

OSWALD. 

Yes; you're quite right, mother. It's bad for me, I 
know. You see, I'm wretchedly worn out. I shall go 
for a little turn before dinner. Excuse me, Pastor: I 
know you can't take my point of view; but I couldn't 
help speaking out. 

[He goes out by the second door to the right. 

MRS. ALVING. 
My poor boy! 

MANDERS. 

You may well say so. Then this is what he has come 
to! [MRS. ALVING looks at him silently. 

MANDERS. 

[Walking up and down.] He called himself the Prod- 
igal Son. Alas! alas! 

[MRS. ALVING continues looking at him. 

MANDERS. 
And what do y o u say to all this ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
1 I say that Oswald was right in every word. 

MANDERS. 
[Stands still.] Right? Right! In such principles? 



254 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MBS. ALVING. 

Here, in my loneliness, I have come to the same way 
of thinking, Pastor Manders. But I have never dared 
to say anything. Well! now my boy shall speak for me. 

MANDERS. 

You are greatly to be pitied, Mrs. Alving. But now I 
must speak seriously to you. And now it is no longer 
your business manager and adviser, your own and your 
husband's early friend, who stands before you. It is the 
priest the priest who stood before you in the moment 
of your life when you had gone farthest astray. 

MRS. ALVING. 
And what has the priest to say to me ? 

MANDERS. 

I will first stir up your memory a little. The moment 
is well chosen. To-morrow will be the tenth anniver- 
sary of your husband's death. To-morrow the memo- 
rial in his honour will be unveiled. To-morrow I shall 
have to speak to the whole assembled multitude. But 
to-day I will speak to you alone. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Very well, Pastor Manders. Speak. 

MANDERS. 

Do you remember that after less than a year of mar- 
ried life you stood on the verge of an abyss ? That you 
forsook your house and home ? That you fled from your 



ACT i] GHOSTS 255 

husband ? Yes, Mrs. Alving fled, fled, and refused to 
return to him, however much he begged and prayed 
you? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Have you forgotten how infinitely miserable I was in 
that first year? 

MANDERS. 

It is the very mark of the spirit of rebellion to crave 
for happiness in this life. What right have we human 
beings to happiness? We have simply to do our duty, 
Mrs. Alving! And your duty was to hold firmly to the 
man you had once chosen, and to whom you were 
bound by the holiest ties. 

MRS. ALVTNG. 

You know very well what sort of life Alving was lead- 
ing what excesses he was guilty of. 

MANDERS. 

I know very well what rumours there were about him; 
and I am the last to approve the life he led in his young 
days, if report did not wrong him. But a wife is not 
appointed to be her husband's judge. It was your duty 
to bear with humility the cross which a Higher Power 
had, in its wisdom, laid upon you. But instead of that 
you rebelliously throw away the cross, desert the back- 
slider whom you should have supported, go and risk 
your good name and reputation, and nearly succeed in 
ruining other people's reputation into the bargain. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Other people's ? One other person's, you mean. 



256 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MANDERS. 

It was incredibly reckless of you to seek refuge with 
me. 

MRS. ALVING. 
With our clergyman ? With our intimate friend ? 

MANDERS. 

Just on that account. Yes, you may thank God that 
I possessed the necessary firmness; that I succeeded in 
dissuading you from your wild designs ; and that it was 
vouchsafed me to lead you back to the path of duty, and 
home to your lawful husband. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, Pastor Manders, that was certainly your work. 

MANDERS. 

I was but a poor instrument in a Higher Hand. And 
what a blessing has it not proved to you, all the days of 
your life, that I induced you to resume the yoke of duty 
and obedience! Did not everything happen as I fore- 
told ? Did not Alving turn his back on his errors, as a 
man should ? Did he not live with you from that time, 
lovingly and blamelessly, all his days ? Did he not be- 
come a benefactor to the whole district ? And did he not 
help you to rise to his own level, so that you, little by 
little, became his assistant in all his undertakings ? And 
a capital assistant, too oh, I know, Mrs. Alving, that 
praise is due to you. But now I come to the next great 
error in your life. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 257 

MRS. ALVING. 
What do you mean ? 

MANDERS. 

Just as you once disowned a wife's duty, so you have 
since disowned a mother's. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Ah ! 

MANDERS. 

You have been all your life under the dominion of a 
pestilent spirit of self-will. The whole bias of your mind 
has been towards insubordination and lawlessness. You 
have never known how to endure any bond. Everything 
that has weighed upon you in life you have cast away 
without care or conscience, like a burden you were free 
to throw off at will. It did not please you to be a wife 
any longer, and you left your husband. You found it 
troublesome to be a mother, and you sent your child 
forth among strangers. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, that is true. I did so. 

MANDERS. 
And thus you have become a stranger to him. 

MRS. ALVING. 
No! no! I am not. 

MANDERS. 

Yes, you are; you must be. And in what state of 
mind has he returned to you? Bethink yourself well, 



258 GHOSTS [ACT i 

Mrs. Alving. You sinned greatly against your husband ; 
that you recognise by raising yonder memorial to him. 
Recognise now, also, how you have sinned against your 
son there may yet be time to lead him back from the 
paths of error. Turn back yourself, and save what may 
yet be saved in him. For [With uplifted forefinger] ver- 
ily, Mrs. Alving, you are a guilt-laden mother! This I 
have thought it my duty to say to you. [Silence. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Slowly and with self-control.] You have now spoken 
out, Pastor Manders; and to-morrow you are to speak 
publicly an memory of my husband. I shall not speak 
to-morrow. But now I will speak frankly to you, as you 
have spoken to me. 

MANDERS. 
To be sure; you will plead excuses for your conduct 

MRS. ALVING. 
No. I will only tell you a story. 

MANDERS. 
Well ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

All that you have just said about my husband and me, 
and our life after you had brought me back to the path 
of duty as you called it about all that you know noth- 
ing from personal observation. From that moment you, 
who had been our intimate friend, never set foot in our 
house again. 



ACI u GHOSTS 259 

MANDERS. 
You and your husband left the town immediately after. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes; and in my husband's lifetime you never came to 
see us. It was business that forced you to visit me when 
you undertook the affairs of the Orphanage. 

MANDERS. 

[Softly and hesitatingly.] Helen if that is meant as a 
reproach, I would beg you to bear in mind 

MRS. ALVING. 



the regard you owed to your position, yes; and 

that I was a runaway wife. One can never be too cau- 
tious with such unprincipled creatures. 

MANDERS. 

My dear Mrs. Alving, you know that is an absurd 
exaggeration 

MRS. ALVING. 

Well well, suppose it is. My point is that your judg- 
ment as to my married life is founded upon nothing but 
common knowledge and report. 

MANDERS. 
I admit that. What then ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Well, then, Pastor Manders I will tell you the truth. 
I have sworn to myself that one day you should know it 
you alone! 



200 GHOSTS [AC* * 

MANDEBS. 
What is the truth, then ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

The truth is that my husband died just as dissolute as 
he had lived all his days. 

MANDERS. 
[Feeling after a chair.] What do you say ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

After nineteen years of marriage, as dissolute in his 
desires at any rate as he was before you married us. 

MANDERS. 

And those those wild oats those irregularities 
those excesses, if you like you call " a dissolute life " ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Our doctor used the expression. 

MANDERS. 
I do not understand you. 

MRS. ALVING. 
You need not. 

MANDERS. 

It almost makes me dizzy. Your whole mamed life, 
the seeming union of all these years, was nothing more 
than a hidden abyss! 



ACT i] GHOSTS 261 

MRS. ALVING. 
Neither more nor less. Now you know it. 

MANDERS. 

This is this is inconceivable to me. I cannot grasp 

it! I cannot realise it! But how was it possible to ? 

How could such a state of things be kept secret ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

That has been my ceaseless struggle, day after day. 
After Oswald's birth, I thought Alving seemed to be a 
little better. But it did not last long. And then I had 
to struggle twice as hard, fighting as though for life or 
death, so that nobody should know what sort of man my 
child's father was. And you know what power Alving 
had of winning people's hearts. Nobody seemed able 
to believe anything but good of him. He was one of 
those people whose life does not bite upon their reputa- 
tion. But at last, Mr. Manders for you must know the 
whole story the most repulsive thing of all happened. 

MANDERS. 
More repulsive than what you have told me! 

MRS. ALVING. 

I had gone on bearing with him, although I knew very 
\/ well the secrets of his life out of doors. But when he 
brought the scandal within our own walls 

MANDERS. 
Impossible! Here! 



262 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes; here in our own home. It was there [Pointing 
towards the first door on the right], in the dining-room, 
that I first came to know of it. I was busy with some- 
thing in there, and the door was standing ajar. I heard 
our housemaid come up from the garden, with water for 
those flowers. 

MANDERS. 
Well ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Soon after, I heard Alving come in too. I heard him 
say something softly to her. And then I heard [With a 
short laugh] oh! it still sounds in my ears, so hateful 
and yet so ludicrous I heard my own servant-maid 
whisper, "Let me go, Mr. Alving! Let me be!" 

MANDERS. 

What unseemly levity on his part! But it cannot have 
been more than levity, Mrs. Alving; believe me, it can- 
not. 

MRS. ALVING. 

I soon knew what to believe. Mr. Alving had his way 
with the girl; and that connection had consequences, Mr. 
Manders. 

MANDERS. 

[As though petrified.] Such things in this house! in 
this house! 

MRS. ALVING. 

I had borne a great deal in this house. To keep him 
at home in the evenings, and at night, I had to make 



ACT i] GHOSTS 263 

myself his boon companion in his secret orgies up in his 
room. There I have had to sit alone with him, to clink 
glasses and drink with him, and to listen to his ribald, 
silly talk. I have had to fight with him to get him dragged 
to bed 

MANDERS. 
[Moved.] And you were able to bear all this! 

MRS. ALVING. 

I had to bear it for my little boy's sake. But when the 

last insult was added; when my own servant-maid ; 

then I swore to myself : This shall come to an end ! And 
so I took the reins into my own hand the whole con- 
trol over him and everything else. For now I had a 
weapon against him, you see; he dared not oppose me. 
It was then I sent Oswald away from home. He was 
nearly seven years old, and was beginning to observe 
and ask questions, as children do. That I could not 
bear. It seemed to me the child must be poisoned by 
merely breathing the air of this polluted home. That 
was why I sent him away. And now you can see, too, 
why he was never allowed to set foot inside his home so 
long as his father lived. No one knows what that cost 
me. 

MANDERS. 
You have indeed had a life of trial. 

MRS. ALVING. 

I could never have borne it if I had not had my work. 
For I may truly say that I have worked ! All the addi- 
tions to the estate all the improvements all the labour- 



264 GHOSTS [ACT i 

saving appliances, that Alving was so much praised for 
having introduced do you suppose he had energy for 
anything of the sort ? h e, who lay all day on the sofa, 
reading an old Court Guide! No; but I may tell you 
this too : when he had his better intervals, it was I 
who urged him on; it was I who had to drag the whole 
load when he relapsed into his evil ways, or sank into 
querulous wretchedness. 

MANDERS. 
And it is to this man that you raise a memorial ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
There you see the power of an evil conscience. 

MANDERS 
Evil ? What do you mean ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

It always seemed to me impossible but that the truth 
must come out and be believed. So the Orphanage was 
to deaden all rumours and set every doubt at rest. 

MANDERS. 

In that you have certainly not missed your aim, Mrs. 
Alving. 

MRS. ALVING. 

And besides, I had one other reason. I was deter- 
mined that Oswald, my own boy, should inherit nothing 
whatever from his father. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 265 

MANDEBS. 
Then it is Alving's fortune that ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes. The sums I have spent upon the Orphanage, 
year by year, make up the amount I have reckoned it 
up precisely the amount which made Lieutenant Alving 
"a good match" in his day. 

MANDERS. 
I don't understand 

MRS. ALVING. 

It was my purchase-money. I do not choose that 
that money should pass into Oswald's hands. My son 
shall have everything from me everything. 

OSWALD ALVING enters through the second door to the 
right; he has taken off his hat and overcoat in the 
hall. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Going towards him.] Are you back again already? 
My dear, dear boy! 

OSWALD. 

Yes. What can a fellow do out of doors in this eternal 
rain ? But I hear dinner is ready. That's capital ! 

REGINA. 

[With a parcel, from the dining-room.] A parcel has 
come for you, Mrs. Alving. [Hands it to her. 



GHOSTS [ACT i 

MRS. ALVING. 

[With a glance at MR. MANDERS.] No doubt copies 
of the ode for to-morrow's ceremony. 

MANDERS. 
H'm- 

REGINA. 
And dinner is ready. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Very well. We will come directly. I will just 

[Begins to open the parcel. 

REGINA. 

[To OSWALD.] Would Mr. Alving like red or white 
wine? 

OSWALD. 
Both, if you please. 

REGINA. 
Bien. Very well, sir. [She goes into the dining-room. 

OSWALD. 

I may as well help to uncork it. 

[He also goes into the dining-room, the door of which 
swings half open behind him. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Who has opened the parcel.] Yes, I thought so. Here 
is the Ceremonial Ode, Pastor Manders. 



ACT i] GHOSTS 267 

MANDERS. 

[With folded hands.] With what countenance I am to 
deliver my discourse to-morrow ! 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oh, you will get through it somehow. 

MANDERS. 

[Softly, so as not to be heard in the dining-room.] Yes; 
it would not do to provoke scandal. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Under her breath, but firmly.] No. But then this 
long, hateful comedy will be ended. From the day after 
to-morrow, I shall act in every way as though he who is 
dead had never lived in this house. There shall be no 
one here but my boy and his mother. 

[From the dining-room comes the noise of a chair 
overturned, and at the same moment is heard: 

REGINA. 

[Sharply, but in a whisper.] Oswald! take care! are 
you mad ? Let me go! 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Starts in terror.] Ah ! 

[She stares wildly towards the half-open door. OS- 
WALD is heard laughing and humming. A bottle 
is uncorked. 

MANDERS. 

[Agitated.] What c a n be the matter ? What is it 
Mrs. Alving? 



268 GHOSTS [ACT i 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Hoarsely.] Ghosts! The couple from the conserva- 
tory risen again! 

MANDERS. 
Is it possible! Regina ? Is s h e ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes. Come. Not a word ! 

[She seizes PASTOR MANDERS by the arm, and walks 
unsteadily towards the dining-room. 



ACT SECOND 

The same room. The mist still lies heavy over the land- 
scape. 

MANDERS and MRS. ALVING enter from the dining-room. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Still in the doorway.] Velbekomme* Mr. Manders. 
[Turns back towards the dining-room.] Aren't you com- 
ing too, Oswald? 

OSWALD. 

[From within.] No, thank you. I think I shall go 
out a little. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes, do. The weather seems a little brighter now. 
[She shuts the dining-room door, goes to the hall door, and 
calls:] Regina! 

REGINA. 
[Outside.] Yes, Mrs. Alving? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Go down to the laundry, and help with the garlands. 

1 A phrase equivalent to the German Prosit die Mahlzeit " May 
good digestion wait on appetite." 

269 



270 GHOSTS [ACT n 

REGINA. 
Yes, Mrs. Alving. 

MRS. ALVING assures herself that REGINA goes; then 
shuts the door. 

MANDERS. 
I suppose he cannot overhear us in there? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Not when the door is shut. Besides, he's just going 
out. 

MANDERS. 

I am still quite upset. I don't know how I could 
swallow a morsel of dinner. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Controlling her nervousness, walks up and down.] Nor 
I. But what is to be done now? 

MANDERS. 

Yes; what is to be done? I am really quite at a loss. 
I am so utterly without experience in matters of this sort. 

MRS. ALVING. 
I feel sure that, so far, no mischief has been done. 

MANDERS. 

No; heaven forbid! But it is an unseemly state of 
things, nevertheless. 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 271 

MRS. ALVING. 

It is only an idle fancy on Oswald's part; you may be 
sure of that. 

MANDERS. 

Well, as I say, I am not accustomed to affairs of the 
kind. But I should certainly think 

MRS. ALVING. 

Out of the house she must go, and that immediately. 
That is as clear as daylight 

MANDERS. 
Yes, of course she must. 

MRS. ALVING. 
But where to? It would not be right to 

MANDERS. 
Where to? Home to her father, of course. 

MRS. ALVING. 
To whom did you say ? 

MANDERS. 

To her But then, Engstrand is not ? Good 

God, Mrs. Alving, it's impossible! You must be mis- 
taken after all. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Unfortunately there is no possibility of mistake. Jo- 
hanna confessed everything to me; and Alving could not 



272 GHOSTS IACT n 

deny it. So there was nothing to be done but to get the 
matter hushed up. 

MANDERS. 
No, you could do nothing else. 

MRS. ALVING. 

The girl left our service at once, and got a good sum 
of money to hold her tongue for the time. The rest she 
managed for herself when she got to town. She re- 
newed her old acquaintance with Engstrand, no doubt 
let him see that she had money in her purse, and told 
him some tale about a foreigner who put in here with a 
yacht that summer. So she and Engstrand got married 
in hot haste. Why, you married them yourself. 

MANDERS. 

But then how to account for ? I recollect dis- 
tinctly Engstrand coming to give notice of the marriage. 
He was quite overwhelmed with contrition, and bitterly 
reproached himself for the misbehaviour he and his sweet- 
heart had been guilty of. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes; of course he had to take the blame upon himself. 

MANDERS. 

But such a piece of duplicity on his part! And tow- 
ards me to! I never could have believed it of Jacob 
Engstrand. I shall not fail to take him seriously to 
task; he may be sure of that. And then the immorality 

of such a connection! For money ! How much did 

the girl receive? 



ACT iij GHOSTS 273 

MRS. ALVING. 
Three hundred dollars. 

MANDERS. 

Just think of it for a miserable three hundred dollars, 
to go and marry a fallen woman ! 

MRS. ALVING. 

Then what have you to say of me ? I went and mar- 
ried a fallen man. 

MANDERS. 

Why good heavens! what are you talking about! 
A fallen man! 

MRS. ALVING. 

Do you think Alving was any purer when I went 
with him to the altar than Johanna was when Engstrand 
married her? 

MANDERS. 

Well, but there is a world of difference between the 
two cases 

MRS. ALVING. 

Not so much difference after all except in the price: 
a miserable three hundred dollars and a whole fortune. 

MANDERS. 

How can you compare such absolutely dissimilar cases ? 
You had taken counsel with your own heart and with 
your natural advisers. 



274 GHOSTS [ACT n 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Without looking at him.] I thought you understood 
where what you call my heart had strayed to at the time. 

MANDERS. 

[Distantly.] Had I understood anything of the kind, 
I should not have been a daily guest in your husband's 
house. 

MRS. ALVING. 

At any rate, the fact remains that with myself I took 
no counsel whatever. 

MANDERS. 

Well then, with your nearest relatives as your duty 
bade you with your mother and your two aunts. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes, that is true. Those three cast up the account for 
me. Oh, it's marvellous how clearly they made out that 
it would be downright madness to refuse such an offer. 
If mother could only see me now, and know what all 
that grandeur has come to! 

MANDERS. 

Nobody can be held responsible for the result. This, 
at least, remains clear : your marriage was in full accord- 
ance with law and order. 



MRS. ALVING. 

[At the window.] Oh, that perpetual law and order! 
I often think that is what does all the mischief in this 
world of ours. 



ACT n] GHOSTS 275 

MANDERS. 
Mrs. Alving, that is a sinful way of talking. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Well, I can't help it; I must have done with all this 
constraint and insincerity. I can endure it no longer. 
I must work my way out to freedom. 

MANDERS. 
What do you mean by that ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Drumming on the window-frame.] I ought never to 
have concealed the facts of Alving's life. But at that 
time I dared not do anything else I was afraid, partly 
on my own account. I was such a coward. 

MANDERS. 
A coward ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

If people had come to know anything, they would have 
said "Poor man! with a runaway wife, no wonder he 
kicks over the traces." 

MANDERS. 

Such remarks might have been made with a certain 
show of right. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Looking steadily at him.] If I were what I ought to 
be, I should go to Oswald and say, "Listen, my boy: 
your father led a vicious life " 



276 GHOSTS [ACT n 

MANDERS. 
Merciful heavens ! 

MRS. ALVING. 

and then I should tell him all I have told you 

every word of it. 

MANDERS. 
You shock me unspeakably, Mrs. Alving. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes; I know that. I know that very well. I myself 
am shocked at the idea. [Goes away from the window.} 
I am such a coward. 

MANDERS. 

You call it " cowardice " to do your plain duty ? Have 
you forgotten that a son ought to love and honour his 
father and mother? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Do not let us talk in such general terms. Let us ask: 
Ought Oswald to love and honour Chamberlain Alving ? 

MANDERS. 

Is there no voice in your mother's heart that forbids 
you to destroy your son's ideals? 

MRS. ALVING. 
But what about the truth ? 

MANDER8. 

But what about the ideals? 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 277 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oh ideals, ideals! If only I were not such a coward! 

MANDERS. 

Do not despise ideals, Mrs. Alving; they will avenge 
themselves cruelly. Take Oswald's case: he, unfortu- 
nately, seems to have few enough ideals as it is; but I can 
see that his father stands before him as an ideal. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, that is true. 

MANDERS. 

And this habit of mind you have yourself implanted 
and fostered by your letters. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes; in my superstitious awe for duty and the pro- 
prieties, I lied to my boy, year after year. Oh, what a 
coward what a coward I have been! 

MANDERS. 

You have established a happy illusion in your son's 
heart, Mrs. Alving; and assuredly you ought not to under- 
value it. 

MRS. ALVING. 

H'm; who knows whether it is so happy after all ? 

But, at any rate, I will not have any tampering with 
Regina. He shall not go and wreck the poor girl's life. 

MANDERS. 
No; good God that would be terrible! 



278 GHOSTS [ACT n 

MRS. ALVING. 

If I knew he was in earnest, and that it would be for 
his happiness 

MANDEES. 
What? What then? 

MRS. ALVING. 

But it couldn't be; for unfortunately Regina is not the 
right sort of woman. 

MANDERS. 
Well, what then ? What do you mean ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

If I weren't such a pitiful coward, I should say to 
him, " Marry her, or make what arrangement you please, 
only let us have nothing underhand about it." 

MANDERS. 

Merciful heavens, would you let them marry! Any- 
thing so dreadful ! so unheard of 

MRS. ALVING. 

Do you really mean " unheard of " ? Frankly, Pastor 
Manders, do you suppose that throughout the country 
there are not plenty of married couples as closely akin 
as they? 

MANDERS. 
I don't in the least understand you. 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 279 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oh yes, indeed you do. 

MANDERS. 

Ah, you are thinking of the possibility that Alas ! 

yes, family life is certainly not always so pure as it ought 
to be. But in such a case as you point to, one can never 
know at least with any certainty. Here, on the other 
hand that you, a mother, can think of letting your 
son ! 

MRS. ALVING. 

But I cannot I wouldn't for anything in the world; 
that is precisely what I am saying. 

MANDERS. 

No, because you are a " coward," as you put it. But 

if you were not a "coward," then ? Good God! a 

connection so shocking! 

MRS. ALVING. 

So far as that goes, they say we are all sprung from 
connections of that sort. And who is it that arranged 
the world so, Pastor Manders ? 

MANDERS. 

Questions of that kind I must decline to discuss with 
you, Mrs. Alving; you are far from being in the right 
frame of mind for them. But that you dare to call your 
scruples " cowardly " ! 



280 GHOSTS [ACT n 

MRS. ALVING. 

Let me tell you what I mean. I am timid and faint- 
hearted because of the ghosts that hang about me, and 
that I can never quite shake off. 

MANDERS. 
What do you say hangs about you? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Ghosts! When I heard Regina and Oswald in there, 
it was as though ghosts rose up before me. But I al- 
most think we are all of us ghosts, Pastor Manders. It 
is not only what we have inherited from our father and 
mother that " walks " in us. It is all sorts of dead ideas, 
and lifeless old beliefs, and so forth. They have no vital- 
ity, but they cling to us all the same, and we cannot shake 
them off. Whenever I take up a newspaper, I seem to 
see ghosts gliding between the lines. There must be 
ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sands of the 
sea. And then we are, one and all, so pitifully afraid of 
the light. 

MANDERS. 

Aha here we have the fruits of your reading. And 
pretty fruits they are, upon my word! Oh, those hor- 
rible, revolutionary, freethinking books! 

MRS. ALVING. 

You are mistaken, my dear Pastor. It was you your- 
self who set me thinking; and I thank you for it with all 
my heart. 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 281 

MANDERS. 
I! 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes when you forced me under the yoke of what you 
called duty and obligation ; when you lauded as right and 
proper what my whole soul rebelled against as some- 
thing loathsome. It was then that I began to look into 
the seams of your doctrines. I wanted only to pick at a 
single knot; but when I had got that undone, the whole 
thing ravelled out. And then I understood that it was 
all machine-sewn. 

MANDERS. 

[Softly, with emotion.] And was that the upshot of my 
life's hardest battle ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Call it rather your most pitiful defeat. 

MANDERS. 

It was my greatest victory, Helen the victory over 
myself. 

MRS. ALVING. 
It was a crime against us both. 

MANDERS. 

When you went astray, and came to me crying, " Here 
I am; take me!" I commanded you, saying, "Woman, 
go home to your lawful husband." Was t h a t a crime ? 



282 GHOSTS [ACT n 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, I think so. 

MANDERS. 
We two do not understand each other. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Not now, at any rate. 

MANDERS. 

Never never in. my most secret thoughts have I re- 
garded you otherwise than as another's wife. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oh indeed ? 

MANDERS. 
Helen ! 

MRS. ALVING. 
People so easily forget their past selves. 

p 

MANDERS. 
I do not. I am what I always was. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Changing the subject.] Well, well, well; don't let us 
talk of old times any longer. You are now over head 
and ears in Boards and Committees, and I am fighting 
my battle with ghosts, both within me and without. 

MANDERS. 

Those without I shall help you to lay. After all the 
terrible things I have heard from you to-day, I cannot in 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 283 

conscience permit an unprotected girl to remain in your 
house. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Don't you think the best plan would be to get her pro- 
vided for? I mean, by a good marriage. 

MANDERS. 

No doubt. I think it would be desirable for her in 

every respect. Regina is now at the age when Of 

course I don't know much about these things, but 

MRS. ALVING. 
Regina matured very early. 

MANDERS. 

.Yes, I thought so. I have an impression that she 
was remarkably well developed, physically, when I pre- 
pared her for confirmation. But in the meantime, she 

ought to be at home, under her father's eye Ah! but 

Engstrand is not That he that h e could so hide 

the truth from me! [A knock at the door into the hall. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Who can this be? Come in! 

ENSGTRAND. 

[In his Sunday clothes, in the doorway.] I humbly beg 
your pardon, but 

MANDERS. 
Aha! H'm 



284 GHOSTS [ACT n 

MRS. ALVING. 
Is that you, Engstrand ? 

ENGSTRAND. 
there was none of the servants about, so I took 



the great liberty of just knocking. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Oh, very well. Come in. Do you want to speak to 
me? 

ENGSTRAND. 

[Comes in.] No, I'm obliged to you, ma'am; it was 
with his Reverence I wanted to have a word or two. 

MANDERS. 

[Walking up and down the room.] Ah indeed! You 
want to speak to me, do you ? 

ENGSTRAND. 
Yes, I'd like so terrible much to 

MANDERS. 

[Stops in front of him.] Well; may I ask what you 
want? 

ENGSTRAND. 

Well, it was just this, your Reverence: we've been paid 
off down yonder my grateful thanks to you, ma'am, 
and now everything's finished, I've been thinking it would 
be but right and proper if we, that have been working so 



ACT n] GHOSTS 285 

honestly together all this time well, I was thinking we 
ought to end up with a little prayer-meeting to-night. 

MANDERS. 
A prayer-meeting? Down at the Orphanage? 

ENGSTRAND. 
Oh, if your Reverence doesn't think it proper 

MANDERS. 
Oh yes, I do; but h'm 

ENGSTRAND. 

I've been in the habit of offering up a little prayer in 
the evenings, myself 

MRS. ALVING. 
Have you ? 

ENGSTRAND. 

Yes, every now and then just a little edification, in a 
manner of speaking. But I'm a poor, common man, and 
have little enough gift, God help me! and so I thought, 
as the Reverend Mr. Manders happened to be here, 
I'd 

MANDERS. 

Well, you see, Engstrand, I have a question to put to 
you first. Are you in the right frame of mind for such a 
meeting! Do you feel your conscience clear and at ease ? 



286 GHOSTS [ACT n 

ENGSTRAND. 

Oh, God help us, your Reverence! we'd better not 
talk about conscience. 

MANDERS. 

Yes, that is just what we must talk about. What 
have you to answer ? 

ENGSTRAND. 

Why a man's conscience it can be bad enough now 
and then. 

MANDERS. 

Ah, you admit that. Then perhaps you will make a 
clean breast of it, and tell me the real truth about Re- 
gina ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Quickly.] Mr. Manders! 

MANDERS. 
[Reassuringly.] Please allow me 

ENGSTRAND. 

About Regina! Lord, what a turn you gave me! 
[Looks at MRS. ALVING.] There's nothing wrong about 
Regina, is there? 

MANDERS. 

We will hope not. But I mean, what is the truth about 
you and Regina? You pass for her father, eh! 

ENGSTRAND. 

[Uncertain.] Well h'm your Reverence knows all 
about me and poor Johanna. 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 287 

MANDERS. 

Come now, no more prevarication! Your wife told 
Mrs. Alving the whole story before quitting her service. 

ENGSTRAND. 
Well, then, may ! Now, did she really? 

MANDERS. 
You see we know you now, Engstrand. 

ENGSTRAND. 
And she swore and took her Bible oath 

MANDERS. 
Did she take her Bible oath ? 

ENGSTRAND. 
No; she only swore; but she did it that solemn-like. 

MANDERS. 

And you have hidden the truth from me all these 
y^ars ? Hidden it from me, who have trusted you with- 
out reserve, in everything. 

ENGSTRAND. 
Well, I can't deny it. 

MANDERS. 

Have I deserved this of you, Engstrand ? Have I not 
always been ready to help you in word and deed, so far 
as it lay in my power? Answer me. Have I not? 



288 GHOSTS [ACT n 

ENGSTRAND. 

It would have been a poor look-out for me many a 
time but for the Reverend Mr. Manders. 

MANDERS. 

And this is how you reward me! You cause me to 
enter falsehoods in the Church Register, and you with- 
hold from me, year after year, the explanations you owed 
alike to me and to the truth. Your conduct has been 
wholly inexcusable, Engstrand; and from this time for- 
ward I have done with you! 

ENGSTRAND. 
[With a sigh.] Yes! I suppose there*s no help for it. 

MANDERS. 
How can you possibly justify yourself? 

ENGSTRAND. 

Who could ever have thought she'd have gone and 
made bad worse by talking about it ? Will your Rever- 
ence just fancy yourself in the same trouble as poor Jo- 
hanna 

MANDERS. 
I! 

ENGSTRAND. 

Lord bless you, I don't mean just exactly the same. 
But I mean, if your Reverence had anything to be 
ashamed of in the eyes of the world, as the saying goes. 
We menfolk oughtn't to judge a poor woman too hardly, 
your Reverence. 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 289 

MANDERS. 
I am not doing so. It is you I am reproaching. 

ENGSTRAND. 

Might I make so bold as to ask your Reverence a bit 
of a question? 

MANDERS. 
Yes, if you want to. 

ENGSTRAND. 

Isn't it right and proper for a man to raise up the 
fallen ? 

MANDERS. 
Most certainly it is. 

ENGSTRAND. 
And isn't a man bound to keep his sacred word ? 

MANDERS. 
Why, of course he is; but 

ENGSTRAND. 

When Johanna had got into trouble through that 
Englishman or it might have been an American or a 
Russian, as they call them well, you see, she came 
down into the town. Poor thing, she'd sent me about 
my business once or twice before: for she couldn't bear 
the sight of anything as wasn't handsome; and I'd got 
this damaged leg of mine. Your Reverence recollects 
how I ventured up into a dancing saloon, where seafar- 
ing men was carrying on with drink and devilry, as the 



290 GHOSTS [ACT n 

saying goes. And then, when I was for giving them a 
bit of an admonition to lead a new life 

MBS. ALVING. 
[At the window.] H'm 

MANDERS. 

I know all about that, Engstrand; the ruffians threw 
you downstairs. You have told me of the affair already. 
Your infirmity is an honour to you. 

ENGSTRAND. 

I'm not puffed up about it, your Reverence. But 
what I wanted to say was, that when she came and con- 
fessed all to me, with weeping and gnashing of teeth, I 
can tell your Reverence I was sore at heart to hear it. 

MANDERS. 
Were you indeed, Engstrand ? Well, go on. 

ENGSTRAND. 

So I says to her, "The American, he's sailing about 
on the boundless sea. And as for you, Johanna," says 
I, " you've committed a grievous sin, and you're a fallen 
creature. But Jacob Engstrand," says I, " he's got two 

good legs to stand upon, h e has " You see, your 

Reverence, I was speaking figurative-like. 

MANDERS. 
I understand quite well. Go on. 



ACT n] GHOSTS 291 

ENGSTRAND. 

Well, that was how I raised her up and made an hon- 
est woman of her, so as folks shouldn't get to know how 
as she'd gone astray with foreigners. 

MANDERS. 

In all that you acted very well. Only I cannot ap- 
prove of your stooping to take money 

ENGSTRAND. 
Money? I? Not a farthing! 

"MANDERS. 
[Iiiquiringly to MRS. ALVING.] But 

ENGSTRAND. 

Oh, wait a minute! now I recollect. Johanna did 
have a trifle of money. But I would have nothing to do 
with that. " No," says I, " that's mammon; that's the 
wages of sin. This dirty gold or notes, or whatever it 
was we'll just fling that back in the American's face," 
says I. But he was off and away, over the stormy sea, 
your Reverence. 

MANDERS. 
Was he really, my good fellow? 

ENGSTRAND. 

He was indeed, sir. So Johanna and I, we agreed 
that the money should go to the child's education; and so 
it did, and I can account for every blessed farthing of it. 



292 GHOSTS [ACT 11 

MANDERS. 
Why, this alters the case considerably. 

ENGSTRAND. 

That's just how it stands, your Reverence. And I 
make so bold as to say as I've been an honest father to 
Regina, so far as my poor strength went; for I'm but a 
weak vessel, worse luck! 

MANDERS. 
Well, well, my good fellow 

ENGSTRAND. 

All the same, I bear myself witness as I've brought up 
the child, and lived kindly with poor Johanna, and ruled 
over my own house, as the Scripture has it. But it 
couldn't never enter my head to go to your Reverence 
and puff myself up and boast because even the likes of 
me had done some good in the world. No, sir; when 
anything of that sort happens to Jacob Engstrand, he 
holds his tongue about it. It don't happen so terrible 
often, I daresay. And when I do come to see your Rev- 
erence, I find a mortal deal that's wicked and weak to 
talk about. For I said it before, and I says it again a 
man's conscience isn't always as clean as it might be. 

MANDERS. 
Give me your hand, Jacob Engstrand. 

ENGSTRAND. 
Oh, Lord! your Reverence 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 293 

MANDERS. 
Come, no nonsense [wrings his hand]. There we are! 

ENGSTRAND. 

And if I might humbly beg your Reverence's par- 
don 

MANDERS. 

You ? On the contrary, it is I who ought to beg your 
pardon 

ENGSTRAND. 
Lord, no, sir! 

MANDERS. 

Yes, assuredly. And I do it with all my heart. For- 
give me for misunderstanding you. I only wish I could 
give you some proof of my hearty regret, and of my good- 
will towards you 

ENGSTRAND. 
Would your Reverence do it? 

MANDERS. 
With the greatest pleasure. 

ENGSTRAND. 

Well then, here's the very chance. With the bit of 
money I've saved here, I was thinking I might set up a 
Sailors' Home down in the town. 

MRS. ALVING. 
You? 



294 GHOSTS [ACT n 

ENGSTRAND. 

Yes; it might be a sort of Orphanage, too, in a man- 
ner of speaking. There's such a many temptations for 
seafaring folk ashore. But in this Home of mine, a man 
might feel like as he was under a father's eye, I was 
thinking. 

MANDERS. 

What do you say to this, Mrs. Alving ? 

ENGSTRAND. 

It isn't much as I've got to start with, Lord help me! 
But if I could only find a helping hand, why 

MANDERS. 

Yes, yes; we will look into the matter more closely. 
I entirely approve of your plan. But now, go before me 
and make everything ready, and get the candles lighted, 
so as to give the place an air of festivity. And then we 
will pass an edifying hour together, my good fellow; for 
now I quite believe you are in the right frame of mind. 

ENGSTRAND. 

Yes, I trust I am. And so I'll say good-bye, ma'am, 
and thank you kindly; and take good care of Regina for 
me [Wipes a tear from his eye] poor Johanna's child. 
Well, it's a queer thing, now; but it's just like as if she'd 
growd into the very apple of my eye. It is, indeed. 

[He bows and goes out through the hall. 

MANDERS. 

Well, what do you say of that man now, Mrs. Alving ? 
That was a very different account of matters, was it 
not? 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 295 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, it certainly was. 

MANDERS. 

It only shows how excessively careful one ought to be 
in judging one's fellow creatures. But what a heartfelt 
joy it is to ascertain that one has been mistaken ! Don't 
you think so? 

MRS. ALVING. 

I think you are, and will always be, a great baby, 
Manders. 

MANDERS. 
I? 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Laying her two hands upon his shoulders.] And I say 
that I have half a mind to put my arms round your neck, 
and kiss you. 

MANDERS. 

[Stepping hastily back.] No, no! God bless me! What 
an idea! 

MRS. ALVING. 
[With a smile.] Oh, you needn't be afraid of me. 

MANDERS. 

[By the table.] You have sometimes such an exag- 
gerated way of expressing yourself. Now, let me just 
collect all the documents, and put them in my bag. 
[He does so.] There, that's all right. And now, good- 
bye for the present. Keep your eyes open when Oswald 
comes back. I shall look in again later. 

[He takes his hat and goes out through the hall door. 



296 GHOSTS [ACT n 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Sighs, looks for a moment out of the window, sets the 
room in order a little, and is about to go into the dining- 
room, but stops at the door with a half-suppressed cry. 
Oswald, are you still at table? 

OSWALD. 
[In the dining room.] I'm only finishing my cigar. 

MRS. ALVING. 
I thought you had gone for a little walk. 

OSWALD. 

In such weather as this? 

[A glass clinks. MRS. ALVING leaves the door open, 
and sits down with her knitting on the sofa by the 
window. 

OSWALD. 
Wasn't that Pastor Manders that went out just now ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes; he went down to the Orphanage. 

OSWALD. 
H'm. [The glass and decanter clink again. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[With a troubled glance.] Dear Oswald, you should 
take care of that liqueur. It is strong. 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 297 

OSWALD. 
It keeps out the damp. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Wouldn't you rather come in here, to me ? 

OSWALD. 
I mayn't smoke in there. 

MRS. ALVING. 
You know quite well you may smoke cigars. 

OSWALD. 

Oh, all right then; I'll come in. Just a tiny drop 
more first. There! [He comes into the room with his 
cigar, and shuts the door after him. A short silence.] 
Where has the pastor gone to? 

MRS. ALVING. 
I have just told you; he went down to the Orphanage. 

OSWALD. 
Oh, yes; so you did. 

MRS. ALVING. 
You shouldn't sit so long at table, Oswald, 

OSWALD. 

[Holding his cigar behind him.] But I find it so pleas- 
ant, mother. [Strokes and caresses her.] Just think what 



298 GHOSTS [ACT n 

it is for me to come home and sit at mother's own table, 
in mother's room, and eat mother's delicious dishes. 

MRS. ALVING. 
My dear, dear boy! 

OSWALD. 

[Somewhat impatiently, walks about and smokes.} And 
what else can I do with myself here ? I can't set to work 
at anything. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Why can't you ? 

OSWALD. 

In such weather as this? Without a single ray of 
sunshine the whole day ? [Walks up the room.] Oh, not 
to be able to work ! 

MRS. ALVING. 
Perhaps it was not quite wise of you to come home ? 

OSWALD. 
Oh, yes, mother; I had to. 

MRS. ALVING. 

You know I would ten times rather forgo the joy of 
having you here, than let you 

OSWALD. 

[Stops beside the table.] Now just tell me, mother: 
does it really make you so very happy to have me home 
again ? 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 299 

MRS. ALVING. 
Does it make me happy! 

OSWALD. 

[Crumpling up a newspaper.] I should have thought 
it must be pretty much the same to you whether I was 
in existence or not. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Have you the heart to say that to your mother, Os- 
wald? 

OSWALD. 
But you've got on very well without me all this time. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes; I have got on without you. That is true. 

[A silence. Twilight slowly begins to fall. OSWALD 
paces to and fro across the room. He has laid his 
cigar down. 

OSWALD. 

[Stops beside MRS. ALVING.] Mother, may I sit on the 
sofa beside you ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Makes room for him.] Yes, do, my dear boy. 

OSWALD. 

[Sits down.} There is something I must tell you, 
mother. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Anxiously.] Well ? 



300 GHOSTS [ACT n 

OSWALD. 

[Looks fixedly before him.] For I can't go on hiding it 
any longer. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Hiding what ? What is it ? 

OSWALD. 

[As before.] I could never bring myself to write to 
you about it; and since I've come home 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Seizes him by the arm.] Oswald, what i s the matter ? 

OSWALD. 

Both yesterday and to-day I have tried to put the 
thoughts away from me to cast them off; but it's no 
use. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Rising.] Now you must tell me everything, Oswald! 

OSWALD. 

[Draws her down to the sofa again.] Sit still; and then 
I will try to tell you. I complained of fatigue after my 

journey 

MRS. ALVING. 

Well? What then? 

OSWALD. 

But it isn't that that is the matter with me; not any 
ordinary fatigue 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 301 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Tries to jump up.] You are not ill, Oswald? 

OSWALD. 

[Draws her down again.] Sit still, mother. Do take it 
quietly. I'm not downright ill, either; not what is com- 
monly called "ill." [Clasps his hands above his head.] 
Mother, my mind is broken down ruined I shall never 
be able to work again! 

[With his hands before his face, he buries his head in 
her lap, and breaks into bitter sobbing. 

MBS. ALVING. 

[White and trembling.] Oswald! Look at me! No, 
no; it's not true. 

OSWALD. 

[Looks up with despair in his eyes.] Never to be able 
to work again! Never! never! A living death! Mother, 
can you imagine anything so horrible ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

My poor boy! How has this horrible thing come upon 
you? 

OSWALD. 

[Sitting upright again.] That's just what I cannot 
possibly grasp or understand. I have never led a dis- 
sipated life never, in any respect. You mustn't believe 
that of me, mother! I've never done that. 

MRS. ALVING. 
I am sure you haven't, Oswald. 



302 GHOSTS [ACT n 

OSWALD. 

And yet this has come upon me just the same this 
awful misfortune! 

MRS. ALVING. 

Oh, but it will pass over, my dear, blessed boy. It's 
nothing but over-work. Trust me, I am right. 

OSWALD. 
[Sadly.] I thought so too, at first; but it isn't so. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Tell me everything, from beginning to end. 

OSWALD. 
Yes, I will. 

MRS. ALVING. 
When did you first notice it ? 

OSWALD. 

It was directly after I had been home last time, and 
had got back to Paris again. I began to feel the most 
violent pains in my head chiefly in the back of my 
head, they seemed to come. It was as though a tight 
iron ring was being screwed round my neck and upwards. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Well, and then ? 

OSWALD. 

At first I thought it was nothing but the ordinary 
headache I had been so plagued with while I was grow- 
ing up 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 303 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes, yes 

OSWALD. 

But it wasn't that. I soon found that out. I couldn't 
work any more. I wanted to begin upon a big new pic- 
ture, but my powers seemed to fail me; all my strength 
was crippled ; I could form no definite images ; everything 
swam before me whirling round and round. Oh, it 
was an awful state! At last I sent for a doctor and 
from him I learned the truth. 

MRS. ALVING. 
How do you mean ? 

OSWALD. 

He was one of the first doctors in Paris. I told him 
my symptoms; and then he set to work asking me a 
string of questions which I thought had nothing to do 
with the matter. I couldn't imagine what the man was 
after 

MRS. ALVING. 
Well? 

OSWALD. 

At last he said: "There has been something worm- 
eaten in you from your birth." He used that very word 

vermoulu. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Breathlessly.] What did he mean by that? 

OSWALD. 

I didn't understand either, and begged him to explain 
himself more clearly. And then the old cynic said 
[Clenching his fist] Oh ! 



304 GHOSTS [ACT 11 

MRS. ALVING. 
What did he say ? 

OSWALD. 

He said, " The sins of the fathers are visited upon the 
children." 

MBS. ALVING. 
[Rising slowly.] The sins of the fathers ! 

OSWALD. 
I very nearly struck him in the face 



MRS. ALVING. 

[Walks away across the room.] The sins of the fa- 
thers 

OSWALD. 

[Smiles sadly.] Yes; what do you think of that? Of 
course I assured him that such a thing was out of the 
question. But do you think he gave in ? No, he stuck 
to it; and it was only when I produced your letters and 
translated the passages relating to father 

MRS. ALVING. 
But then ? 

OSWALD. 

Then of course he had to admit that he was on the 
wrong track; and so I learned the truth the incom- 
prehensible truth! I ought not to have taken part with 
my comrades in that light-hearted, glorious life of theirs. 
It had been too much for my strength. So I had brought 
it upon myself! 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 305 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oswald! No, no; do not believe it! 

OSWALD. 

No other explanation was possible, he said. That's 
the awful part of it. Incurably ruined for life by my 
own heedlessness! All that I meant to have done in the 
world I never dare think of it again I'm not able to 
think of it. Oh! if I could only live over again, and 
undo all I have done! [He buries his face in the sofa. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Wrings her hands and walks, in silent struggle, back- 
wards and forwards.] 

OSWALD. 

[After a while, looks up and remains resting upon his 
elbow.] If it had only been something inherited some- 
thing one wasn't responsible for! But this! To have 
thrown away so shamefully, thoughtlessly, recklessly, one's 
own happiness, one's own health, everything in the world 
one's future, one's very life ! 

MRS. ALVING. 

No, no, my dear, darling boy; this is impossible! 
[Bends over him.] Things are not so desperate as you 
think. 

OSWALD. 

Oh, you don't know [Springs up.] And then, 

mother, to cause you all this sorrow! Many a time I 
have almost wished and hoped that at bottom you didn't 
care so very much about me. 



306 GHOSTS [ACT n 

MRS. ALVING. 

I, Oswald? My only boy! You are all I have in 
the world! The only thing I care about! 

OSWALD. 

[Seizes both her hands and kisses them.] Yes, yes, I 
see it. When I'm at home, I see it, of course; and that's 
almost the hardest part for me. But now you know the 
whole story; and now we won't talk any more about it 
to-day. I daren't think of it for long together. [Goes 
up the room.] Get me something to drink, mother. 

MRS. ALVING. 
To drink? What do you want to drink now? 

OSWALD. 

Oh, anything you like. You have some cold punch 
in the house. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, but my dear Oswald 

OSWALD. 

Don't refuse me, mother. Do be kind, now! I 
must have something to wash down all these gnaw- 
ing thoughts. [Goes into the conservatory.] And then 
it's so dark here! [MRS. ALVING pulls a bell-rope on 
the right.] And this ceaseless rain! It may go on week 
after week, for months together. Never to get a glimpse 
of the sun! I can't recollect ever having seen the sun 
shine all the times I've been at home. 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 307 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oswald you are thinking of going away from me. 

OSWALD. 

H'm [Drawing a heavy breath.} I'm not thinking of 
anything. I cannot think of anything! [In a low 
voice.] I let thinking alone. 

REGINA. 
[From the dining-room.] Did you ring, ma'am ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes; let us have the lamp in. 

REGINA. 
Yes, ma'am. It's ready lighted. [Goes out. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Goes across to OSWALD.] Oswald, be frank with me. 

OSWALD. 

Well, so I am, mother. [Goes to the table.] I think I 
have told you enough. 

[REGINA brings the lamp and sets it upon the table. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Regina, you may bring us a small bottle of champagne. 

REGINA. 
Very well, ma'am. [Goes out. 



SOS GHOSTS [ACT ii 

OSWALD. 

[Puts his arm round MRS. ALVING'S neck.] That's just 
what I wanted. I knew mother wouldn't let her boy go 
thirsty. 

MRS. ALVING. 

My own, poor, darling Oswald; how could I deny you 

anything now ? 

OSWALD. 
[Eagerly.] Is that true, mother? Do you mean it? 

MRS. ALVING. 
How? What? 

OSWALD. 
That you couldn't deny me anything. 

MRS. ALVING. 
My dear Oswald 

OSWALD. 
Hush! 

REGINA. 

[Brings a tray with a half-bottle of champagne and two 
glasses, which she sets on the table.] Shall I open it? 

OSWALD. 

No, thanks. I will do it myself. 

[REGINA goes out again. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Sits down by the table.] What was it you meant 
that I mustn't deny you ? 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 309 

OSWALD. 

[Busy opening the bottle.] First let us have a glass 
or two. 

[The cork pops; he pours wine into one glass, and is 
about to pour it into the other. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Holding her hand over it.] Thanks; not for me. 

OSWALD. 

Oh! won't you ? Then I will! 

[He empties the glass, fills, and empties it again; then 
he sits down by the table. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[In expectancy.] Well ? 

OSWALD. 

[Without looking at her.] Tell me I thought you and 
Pastor Manders seemed so odd so quiet at dinner to- 
day. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Did you notice it? 

OSWALD. 

Yes. H'm [After a short silence.] Tell me: what 

do you think of Regina? 

MRS. ALVING. 
What do I think? 



310 GHOSTS [ACT n 

OSWALD. 
Yes; isn't she splendid? 

MRS. ALVING. 
My dear Oswald, you don't know her as I do 

OSWALD. 
Well? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Regina, unfortunately, was allowed to stay at home 
too long. I ought to have taken her earlier into my 
house. 

OSWALD. 

Yes, but isn't she splendid to look at, mother ? 

[He Jills his glass. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Regina has many serious faults 



OSWALD. 
Oh, what does that matter ? [He drinks again. 

MRS. ALVING. 

But I am fond of her, nevertheless, and I am respon- 
sible for her. I wouldn't for all the world have any 
harm happen to her. 

OSWALD. 
[Springs up.\ Mother, Regina is my only salvation! 



ACT n] GHOSTS 811 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Rising.] What do you mean by that? 

OSWALD. 
I cannot go on bearing all this anguish of soul alone. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Have you not your mother to share it with you ? 

OSWALD. 

Yes; that's what I thought; and so I came home to 
you. But that will not do. I see it won't do. I can- 
not endure my life here. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oswald! 

OSWALD. 

I must live differently, mother. That is why I must 
leave you. I will not have you looking on at it. 

MRS. ALVING. 

My unhappy boy! But, Oswald, while you are so ill 
as this 

OSWALD. 

If it were only the illness, I should stay with you, 
mother, you may be sure; for you are the best friend I 
have in the world. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, indeed I am, Oswald; am I not? 



312 GHOSTS [ACT n 

OSWALD. 

[Wanders restlessly about.] But it's all the torment, the 
gnawing remorse and then, the great, killing dread. Oh 
that awful dread! 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Walking after him.] Dread? What dread? What 
do you mean ? 

OSWALD. 

Oh, you mustn't ask me any more. I don't know. I 
can't describe it. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Goes over to the right and pulls the bell.] 

OSWALD. 
What is it you want ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

I want my boy to be happy that is what I want. 
He sha'n't go on brooding over things. [To REGINA, 
ivho appears at the door:] More champagne a large 
bottle. [REGINA goes. 

OSWALD. 
Mother! 

MRS. ALVING. 
Do you think we don't know how to live here at home ? 

OSWALD. 

Isn't she splendid to look at? How beautifully she's 
built! And so thoroughly healthy! 



ACT n] GHOSTS 313 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Sits by the table.] Sit down, Oswald; let us talk 
quietly together. 

OSWALD. 

[Site.] I daresay you don't know, mother, that I owe 
Regina some reparation. 

MRS. ALVING. 
You! 

OSWALD. 

For a bit of thoughtlessness, or whatever you like to 
call it very innocent, at any rate. When I was home 
last time 

MRS. ALVING. 
Well? 

OSWALD. 

She used often to ask me about Paris, and I used to 
tell her one thing and another. Then I recollect I hap- 
pened to say to her one day, " Shouldn't you like to go 
there yourself ? " 

MRS. ALVING. 
Well? 

OSWALD. 

I saw her face flush, and then she said, '* Yes, I should 
like it of all things." "Ah, well," I replied, "it might 
perhaps be managed" or something like that. 

MRS. ALVING. 
And then ? 



314 GHOSTS [ACT n 

OSWALD. 

Of course I had forgotten all about it; but the day 
before yesterday I happened to ask her whether she was 
glad I was to stay at home so long 

MBS. ALVING. 

Yes? 

OSWALD. 

And then she gave me such a strange look, and asked, 
" But what's to become of my trip to Paris ? " 

MRS. ALVING. 
Her trip! 

OSWALD. 

And so it came out that she had taken the thing seri- 
ously; that she had been thinking of me the whole time, 
and had set to work to learn French 

MRS. ALVING. 
So that was why ! 

OSWALD. 

Mother when I saw that fresh, lovely, splendid girl 
standing there before me till then I had hardly noticed 
her but when she stood there as though with open arms 
ready to receive me 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oswald! 

OSWALD. 

then it flashed upon me that in her lay my salva- 
tion; for I saw that she was full of the joy of life. 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 315 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Starts.] The joy of life ? Can there be salvation 
in that? 

REGINA. 

[From the dining-room, with a bottle of champagne.} 
I'm sorry to have been so long, but I had to go to the 
cellar. [Places the bottle on the table. 

OSWALD. 
And now bring another glass. 

REGINA. 

[Looks at him in surprise.] There is Mrs. Alving's 
glass, Mr. Alving. 

OSWALD. 

Yes, but bring one for yourself, Regina. [REGINA starts 
and gives a lightning-like side glance at MBS. ALVING.] 
Why do you wait ? 

REGINA. 
[Softly and hesitatingly] Is it Mrs. Alving's wish? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Bring the glass, Regina. 

[REGINA goes out into the dining-room. 

OSWALD. 

[Follows her with his eyes] Have you noticed hoT? she 
walks ? so firmly and lightly ! 



316 GHOSTS [ACT n 

MRS. ALVING. 
This can never be, Oswald! 

OSWALD. 

It's a settled thing. Can't you see that ? It's no use 
saying anything against it. 

[REGINA enters with an empty glass, which she keeps 
in her hand. 

OSWALD. 
Sit down, Regina. 

[REGINA looks inquiringly at MRS. ALVING. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Sit down. [REGINA sits on a chair by the dining-room 
door, still holding the empty glass in her hand.] Oswald 
what were you saying about the joy of life ? 

OSWALD. 

Ah, the joy of life, mother that's a thing you don't 
know much about in these parts. I have never felt it 
here. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Not when you are with me ? 

OSWALD. 

Not when I'm at home. But you don't understand 
that. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, yes; I think I almost understand it now. 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 317 

OSWALD. 

And then, too, the joy of work! At bottom, it's the 
same thing. But that, too, you know nothing about. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Perhaps you are right. Tell me more about it, Os- 
wald. 

OSWALD. 

I only mean that here people are brought up to believe 
that work is a curse and a punishment for sin, and that 
life is something miserable, something it would be best 
to have done with, the sooner the better. 

MRS. ALVING. 

"A vale of tears," yes; and we certainly do our best 
to make it one. 

OSWALD. 

But in the great world people won't hear of such 
things. There, nobody really believes such doctrines 
any longer. There, you feel it a positive bliss and ec- 
stasy merely to draw the breath of life. Mother, have 
you noticed that everything I have painted has turned 
upon the joy of life? always, always upon the joy of 
life? light and sunshine and glorious air and faces 
radiant with happiness. That is why I'm afraid of re- 
maining at home with you. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Afraid ? What are you afraid of here, with me ? 



318 GHOSTS 

OSWALD. 

I'm afraid lest all my instincts should be warped into 
ugliness. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Looks steadily at him.] Do you think that is what 
would happen? 

OSWALD. 

I know it. You may live the same life here as there, 
and yet it won't be the same life. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Who has been listening eagerly, rises, her eyes big with 
thought, and says:] Now I see the sequence of things. 

OSWALD. 
^What is it you see ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
I see it now for the first time. And now I can speak. 

OSWALD. 
[Rising.] Mother, I don't understand you. 

REGINA. 
[Who has also risen.] Perhaps I ought to go? 

MRS. ALVING. 

No. Stay here. Now I can speak. Now, my boy. 
you shall know the whole truth. And then you can 
choose. Oswald! Reginat 



ACT ii] GHOSTS 319 

OSWALD. 
Hush! The Pastor 

MANDERS. 

[Enters by the hall door.] There! We have had a 
most edifying time down there. 

OSWALD. 
So have we. 



MANDERS. 

We must stand by Engstrand and his Sailors' Home. 
Ilegina must go to him and help him 

REGINA. 
No thank you, sir. 

MANDERS. 

[Noticing her for the first time.] What ? You 

here? And with a glass in your hand! 

REGINA. 
[Hastily putting the glass doivn.] Pardon ! 

OSWALD. 
Regina is going with m e, Mr. Manders. 

MANDERS. 
Going! With you! 



320 GHOSTS [ACT 11 

OSWALD. 
Yes; as my wife if she wishes it. 

MANDERS. 
But, merciful God ! 

REGINA. 
I can't help it, sir. 

OSWALD. 
Or she'll stay here, if I stay. 

REGINA. 
[Involuntarily.] Here! 

MANDERS. 
I am thunderstruck at your conduct, Mrs. Alving. 

MRS. ALVING. 

They will do neither one thing nor the other; for now 
I can speak out plainly. 

MANDERS. 
You surely will not do that! No, no, no! 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes, I can speak and I will. And no ideals shall suf- 
fer after all. 

OSWALD. 
Mother what is it you are hiding from me ? 



ACT ii] GHOSTS v 321 

REGINA. 

[Listening.] Oh, ma'am, listen! Don't you hear 
shouts outside. 

[She goes into the conservatory and looks out. 

OSWALD. 

[At the window on the left.} What's going on ? Where 
does that light come from ? 

REGINA. 

[Cries out.} The Orphanage is on fire! 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Rushing to the window.] On fire! 

MANDERS. 
On fire! Impossible! I've just come from there. 

OSWALD. 

Where's my hat? Oh, never mind it Father's Or- 
phanage ! [He rushes out through the garden door. 

MRS. ALVING. 
My shawl, Regina! The whole place is in a blaze! 

MANDERS. 

Terrible! Mrs. Alving, it is a judgment upon this 
abode of lawlessness. 



322 GHOSTS [ACT n 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes, of course. Come, Regina. 

[She and REGINA hasten out through the hall. 

MANDERS. 

[Clasps his hands together.] And we left it uninsured! 

[He goes out the same way. 



ACT THIRD 

The room as before. All the doors stand open. The lamp 

is still burning on the table. It is dark out of doors; 

there is only a faint glow from the conflagration in 

the background to the left. 
MRS. ALVING, with a shawl over her head, stands in the 

conservatory, looking out. REGINA, also with a shawl 

on, stands a little behind her. 

MRS. ALVING. 
The whole thing burnt! burnt to the ground! 

REGINA. 
The basement is still burning. 

MRS. ALVING. 

How is it Oswald doesn't come home ? There's noth- 
ing to be saved. 

REGINA. 
Should you like me to take down his hat to him ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Has he not even got his hat on ? 

REGINA. 

[Pointing to the hall.] No; there it hangs. 

323 



324 GHOSTS [ACT in 

MRS. ALVING. 

Let it be. He must come up now. I shall go and 
look for him myself. 

[She goes out through the garden door. 

MANDERS. 
[Comes in from the hall.] Is not Mrs. Alving here? 

REGINA. 
She has just gone down the garden. 

MANDERS. 
This is the most terrible night I ever went through. 

REGINA. 
Yes; isn't it a dreadful misfortune, sir? 

MANDERS. 

Oh, don't talk about it! I can hardly bear to think 
of it 

REGINA. 
How c a n it have happened ? 

MANDERS. 

Don't ask me, Miss Engstrand! How should / 

know? Do you, too ? Is it not enough that 

your father ? 

REGINA. 
What about him ? 



ACT in] GHOSTS 325 

MANDERS. 
Oh, he has driven me distracted 

ENGSTRAND. 
[Enters through the hall.] Your Reverence 

MANDERS. 
[Turns round in terror.] Are you after me here, too? 

ENGSTRAND. 

Yes, strike me dead, but I must ! Oh, Lord! 

what am I saying ? But this is a terrible ugly business, 
your Reverence. 

MANDERS. 
[Walks to and fro.] Alas! alas! 

REGINA. 
What's the matter ? 

ENGSTRAND. 

Why, it all came of this here prayer-meeting, you see. 
[Softly.] The bird's limed, my girl. [Aloud.] And to 
think it should be m y doing that such a thing should 
be his Reverence's doing! 

MANDERS. 
But I assure you, Engstrand 

ENGSTRAND. 

There wasn't another soul except your Reverence as 
ever laid a finger on the candles down there; 



326 GHOSTS [ACT in 

MANDERS. 

[Stops.] So you declare. But I certainly cannot recol- 
lect that I ever had a candle in my hand. 

ENGSTBAND. 

And I s a w as clear as daylight how your Reverence 
took the candle and snuffed it with your fingers, and 
threw away the snuff among the shavings. 

MANDERS. 
And you stood and looked on ? 

ENGSTRAND. 
Yes; I saw it as plain as a pike-staff, I did. 

MANDERS. 

It's quite beyond my comprehension. Besides, it has 
never been my habit to snuff candles with my fingers. 

ENGSTRAND. 

And terrible risky it looked, too, that it did! But is 
there such a deal of harm done after all, your Rever- 
ence? 

MANDERS. 
[Walks restlessly to and fro.] Oh, don't ask me! 

ENGSTRAND. 

[Walks with him.] And your Reverence hadn't insured 
it, neither? 



ACT in] GHOSTS 327 

MANDERS. 

[Continuing to walk up and down.] No, no, no; I 
have told you so. 

ENGSTRAND. 

[Following him.] Not insured! And then to go 
straight away down and set light to the whole thing! 
Lord, Lord, what a misfortune! 

MANDERS. 

[Wipes the sweat from his forehead.] Ay, you may 
well say that, Engstrand. 

ENGSTRAND. 

And to think that such a thing should happen to a 
benevolent Institution, that was to have been a blessing 
both to town and country, as the saying goes! The 
newspapers won't be for handling your Reverence very 
gently, I expect. 

MANDERS. 

No; that is just what I am thinking of. That is 
almost the worst of the whole matter. All the malig- 
nant attacks and imputations ! Oh, it makes me 

shudder to think of it! 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Comes in from the garden.] He is not to be persuaded 
to leave the fire. 

MANDERS. 
Ah, there you are, Mrs. Alving. 



328 GHOSTS [ACT in 

MRS. ALVING. 

So you have escaped your Inaugural Address, Pastor 
Manders. 

MANDERS. 
Oh, I should so gladly 

MRS. ALVING. 

[In an undertone.] It is all for the best. That Or- 
phanage would have done no one any good. 

MANDERS. 
Do you think not ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Do you think it would ? 

MANDERS. 
It is a terrible misfortune, all the same. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Let us speak of it plainly, as a matter of business. 
Are you waiting for Mr. Manders, Engstrand ? 

ENGSTRAND. 

[At the hall door.] That's just what I'm a-doing of, 
ma'am. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Then sit down meanwhile. 



ACT in] GHOSTS 329 

ENGSTRAND. 
Thank you, ma'am; I'd as soon stand. 

MBS. ALVING. 

[To MANDERS.] I suppose you are going by the 
steamer ? 

MANDERS. 
Yes; it starts in an hour. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Then be so good as to take all the papers with you. 
I won't hear another word about this affair. I have 
other things to think of 

MANDERS. 
Mrs. Alving 

MRS. ALVING. 

Later on I shall send you a Power of Attorney to set- 
tle everything as you please. 

MANDERS. 

That I will very readily undertake. The original des- 
tination of the endowment must now be completely 
changed, alas! 

MRS. ALVING. 
Of course it must. 

MANDERS. 

I think, first of all, I shall arrange that the Solvik 
property shall pass to the parish. The land is by no 



330 GHOSTS IACT in 

means without value. It can always be turned to ac- 
count for some purpose or other. And the interest of 
the money in the Bank I could, perhaps, best apply for 
the benefit of some undertaking of acknowledged value 
to the town. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Do just as you please. The whole matter is now com- 
pletely indifferent to me. 

ENGSTRAND. 
Give a thought to my Sailors' Home, your Reverence. 

MANDERS. 

Upon my word, that is not a bad suggestion. That 
must be considered. 

ENGSTRAND. 
Oh, devil take considering Lord forgive me! 

MANDERS. 

[With a sigh.] And unfortunately I cannot tell how 
long I shall be able to retain control of these things 
whether public opinion may not compel me to retire. 
It entirely depends upon the result of the official inquiry 
into the fire 

MRS. ALVING. 
What are you talking about ? 

MANDERS. 
And the result can by no means be foretold. 



ACT in] GHOSTS 331 

ENGSTRAND. 

[Comes close to him.] Ay, but it can though. For 
here stands old Jacob Engstrand. 

MANDERS. 
Well well, but ? 

ENGSTRAND. 

[More softly.] And Jacob Engstrand isn't the man to 
desert a noble benefactor in the hour of need, as the say- 
ing goes. 

MANDERS. 
Yes, but my good fellow how ? 

ENGSTRAND. 

Jacob Engstrand may be likened to a sort of a guard- 
ian angel, he may, your Reverence. 

MANDERS. 
No, no; I really cannot accept that. 

ENGSTRAND. 

Oh, that'll be the way of it, all the same. I know a 
man as has taken others' sins upon himself before now, 
I do. 

MANDERS. 

Jacob! [Wrings his hand.] Yours is a rare nature. 
Well, you shall be helped with your Sailors' Home. 
That you may rely upon. 

[ENGSTRAND tries to thank him, but cannot for emo- 
tion. 



332 GHOSTS [ACT m 

MANDERS. 

[Hangs his travelling-bag over his shoulder.] And now 
let us set out. We two will go together. 

ENGSTRAND. 

[At Hie dining-room door, softly to REGINA.] You come 
along too, my lass. You shall live as snug as the yolk 
in an egg. 

REGINA. 

[Tosses her head.] Merci! 

[She goes oitt into the hall and fetches MANDERS'S 
overcoat. 

MANDERS. 

Good-bye, Mrs. Alving! and may the spirit of Law 
and Order descend upon this house, and that quickly. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Good-bye, Pastor Manders. 

[She goes up towards the conservatory, as she sees 
OSWALD coming in through the garden door. 

ENGSTRAND. 

[While he and REGINA help MANDERS to get his coat on.] 
Good-bye, my child. And if any trouble should come to 
you, you know where Jacob Engstrand is to be found. 

[Softly.] Little Harbour Street, h'm ! [To MRS. 

ALVING and OSWALD.] And the refuge for wandering 
mariners shall be called " Chamberlain Alving's Home," 
that it shall! And if so be as I'm spared to carry on 
that house in my own way, I make so bold as to promise 
that it shall be worthy of the Chamberlain's memory. 



ACT in] GHOSTS 333 

MANDERS. 

[In the doorway.] H'm h'm! Come along, my dear 
Engstrand. Good-bye! Good-bye! 

[He and ENGSTRAND go out through the hall. 

OSWALD. 

[Goes towards the table.] What house was he talking 
about ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Oh, a kind of Home that he and Pastor Manders 
want to set up. 

OSWALD. 
It will burn down like the other. 

MRS. ALVING. 
What makes you think so ? 

OSWALD. 

Everything will burn. All that recalls father's memory 
is doomed. Here am I, too, burning down. 

[REGINA starts and looks at him. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Oswald! You oughtn't to have remained so long 
down there, my poor boy. 

OSWALD. 
[Sits down by the table.] I almost think you are right. 



334 GHOSTS [ACT m 

MRS. ALVING. 

Let me dry your face, Oswald ; you are quite wet. 

[She dries his face with her pocket-handkerchief. 

OSWALD. 
[Stares indifferently in front of him.] Thanks, mother. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Are you not tired, Oswald ? Should you like to sleep ? 

OSWALD. 

[Nervously.] No, no not to sleep! I never sleep. I 
only pretend to. [Sadly.] That will come soon enough. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Looking sorrowfully at him] Yes, you really are ill, 
my blessed boy. 

REGINA. 
[Eagerly.] Is Mr. Alving ill? 

OSWALD. 

[Impatiently.] Oh, do shut all the doors! This kill- 
ing dread 

MRS. ALVING. 

Close the doors, Regina. 

[REGINA shuts them and remains standing by the hall 
door. MRS. ALVING takes her shawl off. REGINA 
does the same. MRS. ALVING draws a chair across 
to OSWALD'S, and sits by him. 



ACT in] GHOSTS 335 

MRS. ALVING. 
There now! I am going to sit beside you 

OSWALD. 

Yes, do. And Regina shall stay here too. Regina 
shall be with me always. You will come to the rescue, 
Regina, won't you ? 

REGINA. 
I don't understand 

MRS. ALVING. 
To the rescue? 

OSWALD. 
Yes when the need comes. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Oswald, have you not your mother to come to the 
rescue ? 

OSWALD. 

You ? [Smiles.] No, mother; that rescue you will 
never bring me. [Laughs sadly.] You! ha ha! [Looks 
earnestly at fier.] Though, after all, who ought to do it 
if not you ? [Impetuously.] Why can't you say " thou " * 
to me, Regina ? Why don't you call me " Oswald " ? 

REGINA. 
[Softly.] I don't think Mrs. Alving would like it. 

>"Sigedu"=Fr. tutoyer. 



336 GHOSTS [ACT ra 

MRS. ALVING. 

You shall have leave to, presently. And meanwhile 
sit over here beside us. 

[REGINA seats herself demurely and hesitatingly at 
the other side of the table. 

MRS. ALVING. 

And now, my poor suffering boy, I am going to take 
the burden off your mind 

OSWALD. 
You, mother? 

MRS. ALVING. 
all the gnawing remorse and self-reproach you 



speak of. 

OSWALD. 
And you think you can do that ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes, now I can, Oswald. A little while ago you spoke 
of the joy of life; and at that word a new light burst for 
me over my life and everything connected with it. 

OSWALD. 
[Shakes his head.] I don't understand you. 

MRS. ALVING. 

You ought to have known your father when he was a 
young lieutenant. He was brimming over with the joy 
of life! 



ACT in] GHOSTS 337 

OSWALD. 
Yes, I know he was. 

MRS. ALVING. 

It was like a breezy day only to look at him. And 
what exuberant strength and vitality there was in him! 

OSWALD. 
Well ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Well then, child of joy as he was for he w a s like 
a child in those days he had to live at home here in a 
half-grown town, which had no joys to offer him only 
dissipations. He had no object in life only an official 
position. He had no work into which he could throw 
himself heart and soul; he had only business. He had 
not a single comrade that could realise what the joy of 
life meant only loungers and boon-companions 

OSWALD. 
Mother ! 

MRS. ALVING. 
So the inevitable happened. 

OSWALD. 
The inevitable? 

MRS. ALVING. 

You told me yourself, this evening, what would be- 
come of you if you stayed at home. 

OSWALD. 
Do you mean to say that father ? 



338 GHOSTS [ACT in 

MRS. ALVING. 

Your poor father found no outlet for the overpowering 
joy of life that was in him. And I brought no brightness 
into his home. 

OSWALD. 
Not even you ? 

MRS. ALVTNG. 

They had taught me a great deal about duties and so 
forth, which I went on obstinately believing in. Every- 
thing was marked out into duties into m y duties, and 
h i s duties, and I am afraid I made his home intoler- 
able for your poor father, Oswald. 

OSWALD. 
Why have you never spoken of this in writing to me ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

I have never before seen it in such a light that I could 
speak of it to you, his son. 

OSWALD. 
In what light did you see it, then ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Slowly.] I saw only this one thing: that your father 
was a broken-down man before you were born. 

OSWALD. 

[Softly.] Ah ! 

[He rises and walks away to the window. 



ACT in] GHOSTS 339 

MRS. ALVING. 

And then, day after day, I dwelt on the one thought 
that by rights Regina should be at home in this house 
just like my own boy. 

OSWALD. 
[Turning round quickly.] Regina ! 

REGINA. 
[Springs up and asks, with bated breath.} I ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, now you know it, both of you. 

OSWALD. 
Regina! 

REGINA. 
[To herself.] So mother was that kind of woman. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Your mother had many good qualities, Regina. 

REGINA. 

Yes, but she was one of that sort, all the same. Oh, 

I've often suspected it; but And now, if you please, 

ma'am, may I be allowed to go away at once ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Do you really wish it, Regina? 

REGINA. 
Yes, indeed I do. 



340 GHOSTS [ACT in 

MRS. ALVING. 
Of course you can do as you like; but - 

OSWALD. 

[Goes towards REGINA.] Go away now? Your place 
is here. 

REGINA. 

Merci, Mr. Alving! or now, I suppose, I may say 
Oswald. But I can tell you this wasn't at all what I 
expected. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Regina, I have not been frank with you 

REGINA. 

No, that you haven't indeed. If I'd known that Os- 
wald was an invalid, why And now, too, that it 

can never come to anything serious between us I 

really can't stop out here in the country and wear myself 
out nursing sick people. 

OSWALD. 
Not even one who is so near to you ? 

REGINA. 

No, that I can't. A poor girl must make the best of 
her young days, or she'll be left out in the cold before 
she knows where she is. And I, too, have the joy of 
life in me, Mrs. Alving! 

MRS. ALVING. 

Unfortunately, you have. But don't throw yourself 
away, Regina. 



ACT in] GHOSTS 341 

REGINA. 

Oh, what must be, must be. If Oswald takes after 
his father, I take after my mother, I daresay. May I 
ask, ma'am, if Pastor Manders knows all this about me ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Pastor Manders knows all about it. 

REGINA. 

[Busied in putting on her shawl.] Well then, I'd bet- 
ter make haste and get away by this steamer. The Pas- 
tor is such a nice man to deal with; and I certainly think 
I've as much right to a little of that money as h e has 
that brute of a carpenter. 

MRS. ALVING. 
You are heartily welcome to it, Regina. 

REGINA. 

[Looks hard at her.] I think you might have brought 
me up as a gentleman's daughter, ma'am; it would have 
suited me better. [Tosses her head.] But pooh what 
does it matter! [With a bitter side glance at the corked 
bottle.] I may come to drink champagne with gentle- 
folks yet. 

MRS. ALVING. 

And if you ever need a home, Regina, come to me. 

REGINA. 

No, thank you, ma'am. Pastor Manders will look 
after me, I know. And if the worst comes to the worst, 
I know of one house where I've every right to a place. 



342 GHOSTS [ACT m 

MRS. ALVING. 
Where is that? 

REGINA. 
" Chamberlain Alving's Home." 

MRS. ALVING. 
Regina now I see it you are going to your ruin. 

REGINA. 

Oh, stuff! Good-bye. 

[She nods and goes out through the hall. 

OSWALD. 
[Stands at the window and looks out.] Is she gone ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes. 

OSWALD. 

[Murmuring aside to himself.] I think it was a mis- 
take, this. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Goes up behind him and lays her hands on his shoul- 
ders.] Oswald, my dear boy has it shaken you very 
much? 

OSWALD. 

[Turns his face towards her.] All that about father, do 
you mean ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes, about your unhappy father. I am so afraid it 
may have been too much for you. 



ACT m] GHOSTS 343 

OSWALD. 

Why should you fancy that ? Of course it came upon 
me as a great surprise; but it can make no real difference 
to me. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Draws her hands away.] No difference ! That your 
father was so infinitely unhappy! 

OSWALD. 

Of course I can pity him, as I would anybody else; 
but 

MRS. ALVING. 
Nothing more! Your own father! 

OSWALD. 

[Impatiently.] Oh, "father," "father"! I never 
knew anything of father. I remember nothing about 
him, except that he once made me sick. 

MRS. ALVING. 

This is terrible to think of! Ought not a son to love 
his father, whatever happens ? 

OSWALD. 

When a son has nothing to thank his father for has 
never known him? Do you really cling to that old 
superstition? you who are so enlightened in other 
ways? 

MRS. ALVING. 

Can it be only a superstition ? 



344 GHOSTS [ACT in 

OSWALD. 

Yes; surely you can see that, mother. It's one of 
those notions that are current in the world, and so 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Deeply moved.] Ghosts! 

OSWALD. 
[Crossing the room.] Yes; you may call them ghosts. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Wildly.] Oswald then you don't love me, either! 

OSWALD. 
You I know, at any rate 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, you know me; but is that all! 

OSWALD. 

And, of course, I know how fond you are of me, and 
I can't but be grateful to you. And then you can be so 
useful to me, now that I am ill. 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes, cannot I, Oswald ? Oh, I could almost bless the 
illness that has driven you home to me. For I see very 
plainly that you are not mine: I have to win you. 



ACT in] GHOSTS 345 

OSWALD. 

[Impatiently.] Yes, yes, yes; all these are just so 
many phrases. You must remember that I am a sick 
man, mother. I can't be much taken up with other peo- 
ple; I have enough to do thinking about myself. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[In a low voice.] I shall be patient and easily satisfied. 

OSWALD. 
And cheerful too, mother! 

MRS. ALVING. 

Yes, my dear boy, you are quite right. [Goes towards 
him.] Have I relieved you of all remorse and self- 
reproach now? 

OSWALD. 

Yes, you have. But now who will relieve me of the 
dread ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
The dread? 

OSWALD. 

[Walks across the room.] Regina could have -been got 
to do it. 

MRS. ALVING. 

I don't understand you. What is this about dread 
and Regina? 

OSWALD. 
Is it very late, mother ? 



346 GHOSTS [ACT in 

MRS. ALVING. 

It is early morning. [She looks out through the con- 
servatory.] The day is dawning over the mountains. 
And the weather is clearing, Oswald. In a little while 
you shall see the sun. 

OSWALD. 

I'm glad of that. Oh, I may still have much to re- 
joice in and live for 

MRS. ALVING. 
I should think so, indeed! 

OSWALD. 
Even if I can't work 

MRS. ALVING. 

Oh, you'll soon be able to work again, my dear boy 
now that you haven't got all those gnawing and depres- 
sing thoughts to brood over any longer. 

OSWALD. 

Yes, I'm glad you were able to rid me of all those fan- 
cies. And when I've got over this one thing more 

[Sits on the sofa.] Now we will have a little talk, 
mother 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, let us. 

[SJie pushes an arm-chair towards the sofa, and sits 
down close to him. 



ACT in] GHOSTS 347 

OSWALD. 

And meantime the sun will be rising. And then you 
will know all. And then I shall not feel this dread any 
longer. 

MRS. ALVING. 
What is it that I am to know? 

OSWALD. 

[Not listening to her.] Mother, did you not say a 
little while ago, that there was nothing in the world you 
would not do for me, if I asked you ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, indeed I said so! 

OSWALD. 
And you'll stick to it, mother? 

MRS. ALVING. 

You may rely on that, my dear and only boy! I have 
nothing in the world to live for but you alone. 

OSWALD. 

Very well, then; now you shall hear Mother, 

you have a strong, steadfast mind, I know. Now you're 
to sit quite still when you hear it. 

MRS. ALVING. 
What dreadful thing can it be ? 



348 GHOSTS [ACT in 

OSWALD. 

You're not to scream out. Do you hear? Do you 
promise me that ? We will sit and talk about it quietly. 
Do you promise me, mother? 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, yes; I promise. Only speak! 

OSWALD. 

Well, you must know that all this fatigue and my 
inability to think of work all that is not the illness 
itself 

MRS. ALVING. 
Then what is the illness itself ? 

OSWALD. 

The disease I have as my birthright [He points to his 
forehead and adds very softly] is seated here. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Almost voiceless.] Oswald! No no! 

OSWALD. 

Don't scream. I can't bear it. Yes, mother, it is 
seated here waiting. And it may break out any day 
at any moment. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Oh, what horror ! 



ACT nij GHOSTS 349 

OSWALD. 
Now, quiet, quiet. That is how it stands with me 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Springs up.] It's not true, Oswald! It's impossible! 
It cannot be so! 

OSWALD. 

I have had one attack down there already. It was 
soon over. But when I came to know the state I had 
been in, then the dread descended upon me, raging and 
ravening: and so I set off home to you as fast as I could. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Then this is the dread ! 

OSWALD. 

Yes it's so indescribably loathsome, you know. Oh, 

if it had only been an ordinary mortal disease ! For 

I'm not so afraid of death though I should like to live 
as long as I can. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Yes, yes, Oswald, you must! 

OSWALD. 

But this is so unutterably loathsome. To become a 

little baby again! To have to be fed! To have to 

Oh, it's not to be spoken of! 

MRS. ALVING. 
The child has his mother to nurse him. 



350 GHOSTS [ACT in 

OSWALD. 

[Springs up.] No, never that! That is just what I 
will not have. I can't endure to think that perhaps I 
should lie in that state for many years and get old and 
grey. And in the meantime you might die and leave me. 
[Sits in MRS. ALVING'S chair.] For the doctor said it 
wouldn't necessarily prove fatal at once. He called it a 
sort of softening of the brain or something like that. 
[Smiles sadly.] I think that expression sounds so nice. 
It always sets me thinking of cherry-coloured velvet 
something soft and delicate to stroke. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Shrieks.] Oswald ! 

OSWALD. 

[Springs up and paces the room.] And now you have 
taken Regina from me. If I could only have had her! 
She would have come to the rescue, I know. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Goes to him.] What do you mean, by that, my dar- 
ling boy ? Is there any help in the world that I would 
not give you ? 

OSWALD. 

When I got over my attack in Paris, the doctor told 
me that when it comes again and it will come- 
there will be no more hope. 

MRS. ALVING. 
He was heartless enough to 



ACT in] GHOSTS 351 

OSWALD. 

I demanded it of him. I told him I had preparations 
to make [He smiles cunningly.] And so I had. 
[He takes a little box from his inner breast pocket and 
opens it.] Mother, do you see this ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
What is it ? 

OSWALD. 
Morphia. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Looks at him horror-struck.] Oswald my boy! 

OSWALD. 
I've scraped together twelve pilules 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Snatches at it.] Give me the box, Oswald. 

OSWALD. 
Not yet, mother. 

[He hides the box again in his pocket. 

MRS. ALVING. 
I shall never survive this! 

OSWALD. 

It must be survived. Now if I'd had Regina here, I 
should have told her how things stood with me and 
begged her to come to the rescue at the last. She would 
have done it. I know she would. 



352 GHOSTS [ACT in 

MRS. ALVING. 
Never! 

OSWALD. 

When the horror had come upon me, and she saw me 
lying there helpless, like a little new-born baby, impo- 
tent, lost, hopeless past all saving 

MRS. ALVING. 
Never in all the world would Regina have done this! 

OSWALD. 

Regina would have done it. Regina was so splen- 
didly light-hearted. And she would soon have wearied 
of nursing an invalid like me. 

MRS. ALVING. 
Then heaven be praised that Regina is not here! 

OSWALD. 

Well then, it is you that must come to the rescue, 
mother. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Shrieks aloud.] I! 

OSWALD. 
Who should do it if not you ? 

MRS. ALVING. 
I! your mother! 

OSWALD , 
For that very reason. 



ACT in] GHOSTS 353 

MRS. ALVING. 
I, who gave you life! 

OSWALD. 

I never asked you for life. And what sort of a life 
have you given me ? I will not have it! You shall take 
it back again! 

MRS. ALVING. 
Help! Help! [She runs out into the hall. 

OSWALD. 

[Going after her.] Do not leave me! Where are you 
going? 

MRS. ALVING. 

[In the hall.] To fetch the doctor, Oswald! Let me 

pass! 

OSWALD. 

[Also outside.] You shall not go out. And no one 
shall come in. [The locking of a door is heard. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Comes in again.] Oswald! Oswald my child! 

OSWALD. 

[Follows her.] Have you a mother's heart for me 
and yet can see me suffer from this unutterable dread? 

MRS. ALVING. 

[After a moment s silence, commands herself, and says:\ 
Here is my hand upon it. 



354 GHOSTS 

OSWALD. 
Will you ? 

MRS. ALVING. 

If it should ever be necessary. But it will never be 
necessary. No, no; it is impossible. 

OSWALD. 

Well, let us hope so. And let us live together as long 
as we can. Thank you, mother. 

[He seats himself in the arm-chair which MRS. AL- 
VING has moved to the sofa. Day is breaking. 
The lamp is still burning on the table. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Drawing near cautiously.} Do you feel calm now? 

OSWALD. 
Yes. 

MRS. ALVING. 

{Bending over him.} It has been a dreadful fancy of 
yours, Oswald nothing but a fancy. All this excite- 
ment has been too much for you. But now you shall 
have a long rest; at home with your mother, my own 
blessed boy. Everything you point to you shall have, 
just as when you were a little child. There now. The 
crisis is over. You see how easily it passed! Oh, I was 
sure it would. And do you see, Oswald, what a lovely 
day we are going to have? Brilliant sunshine! Now 
you can really see your home. 

[She goes to the table and puts out the lamp. Sunrise. 
The glacier and the snow-peaks in the background 
glow in the morning light. 



GHOSTS 355 

OSWALD. 

[Sits in the arm-chair with his back towards Hie land- 
scape, without moving. Suddenly he says:] Mother, give 
me the sun. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[By the table, starts and looks at him.] What do you 

say? 

OSWALD. 
[Repeats, in a dull, toneless voice.] The sun. The sun. 

MRS. ALVING. 
[Goes to him.] Oswald, what is the matter with you ? 

OSWALD. 

[Seems to shrink together in the chair; all his muscles 
relax; his face is expressionless, his eyes have a glassy 
stare.] 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Quivering with terror.] What is this ? [Shrieks.] 
Oswald ! what is the matter with you ? [Falls on her 
knees beside him and shakes him] Oswald! Oswald! 
look at me! Don't you know me? 

OSWALD. 
[Tonelessly as before.] The sun. The sun. 

MRS. ALVING. 

[Springs up in despair, entwines her hands in her hair 
and shrieks.] I cannot bear it! [Whispers, as though 



356 GHOSTS [ACT in 

petrified] I cannot bear it! Never! [Suddenly.] Where 
has he got them ? [Fumbles hastily in his breast.] Here! 
[Shrinks back a few steps and screams'] No; no; no! 
Yes! No; no! 

[She stands a few steps away from him with her 

hands twisted in her hair, and stares at him in 

speechless horror. 

OSWALD. 

[Sits motionless as before and says.] The sun. The 
sun. 



THE END. 



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